Skip to main content

Full text of "Sind revisited : with notices of the Anglo Indian Amry ; railroads; past, present, and future, etc"

See other formats


Victoria %S 



COLLECTION 

BRIQHAMYOUNGyNIVERSnV 



3 1197 22899 0146 

BRIGHAM YOUNG 




i'-- 






Sj* 



«it*\ 



/ 



/ 





<fc 




W^ "-^ 




• r 


^ • 


[WW 




V 


■*•*- \> 


jj 






" 


J *^- 1 •" 


^ 


<T^ -iff 




, 


4 









■V-- 



SIND REVISITED. 



SOD REVISITED: 

WITH NOTICES OF 

THE ANGLO-INDIAN AKMY; EAILKOADS; 
PAST, PKESENT, AND FUTURE, 

ETC. 
BY 

EICHAED F. BUETON. 

IN TWO VOLUMES. 
VOL. I. 




LONDON : 

RICHARD BENTLEY AND SON, 

NEW BURLINGTON STREET. 

Publishers in ©rtiinarg to p?cr JHajestg tfje ©ueen. 

1877. 

(All rights reserved.) 



UPB 



I SHOULD HAVE DEDICATED 

Efjese Pages, 

DESCRIBING FAMILIAR SCENES, 
TO MY OLD FRIEND AND CHIEF, 

GENERAL WALTER SCOTT, 

(BOMBAY ENGINEERS) 

HAD HE LIVED. 
I NOW INSCRIBE THEM TO HIS MEMORY. 



JOE 



PREFACE. 



The man who first applied to Sind the nickname 
"Young Egypt " said, perhaps without intending to do 
so, an uncommonly good thing. Nothing more whim- 
sical than the general and superficial likeness of Nature 
in the two " gifts of the sea," Nile-land and Indus-land. 
Karachi and Alexandria, Haydarabad and Cairo, the flat- 
roofed mud-villages which stud the country, the First 
Cataracts and the Eapids about Sakhar-Bakar-Kohri 
and, briefly, the physical aspect of the valleys of the 
southern " Sindhu," or ocean-stream, and of the northern 
Hapi, or Tesh-Tesh, have the family look which becomes 
brothers. 

Equally noticeable are the differences of accidents, 
especially in those of Art. Young Egypt is very old in 
the annals of humanity. That pre-historic, or proto- 
historic, man was not wanting to her, is proved by the 
cores and flakes of flints, eocenic and nummulitic, which 
strew the heights and depths near Sakhar and Eohri. 



viii Preface. 

The Earn Bagh at Karachi commemorates the passage 
of fighting Rama Chandra (nat. b.c. 961), and of Sita, 
his wife, whose beauty and virtue have made her the 
type of perfect womanhood in the Land of Brahm. Sind 
was much as she is now in b.c. 326, when Alexander the 
Great overran her from north to south ; and how long 
before his time nobody knows. 

Yet, whilst Old Egypt teems with the monuments of 
half-a-dozen races, from the blacks of Meroe to the Mace- 
donian, Mohammed Ali Pasha and the French architect- 
engineer ; whilst the remains of her " enormous cruel 
wonders," her pyramids, obelisks, and sphinxes; her 
Titanic works in labyrinths, canals, and artificial lakes ; 
and her gigantic ruins of cities and citadels, temples 
and palaces, still astound and instruct the northern 
barbarian— Young Egypt has absolutely nothing of the 
kind to show. With the exception of some apochryphal 
mounds, ignorantly entitled "Alexander's Forts," the 
poor list of her ancient works is contained in a few 
dolmens and so-called " Druidical stones," scattered 
over the Hala and other hills west of Karachi ; in certain 
Kafir Kots, artificial lines like river-terraces, in the 
valleys of the Kirthar range which divides Sind from 
Kelat and Belochistan ; and in a small collection of 
bricks bearing the cross-legged image of meditating 
Budha, with the decorations of his faith. The latter 
are the only proof that the Chinese travellers, Fa- 
Hian (a.d. 399-414), Hiuan Tsang (a.d. 628-645), Hoei 



Preface. ix 

Sing (a.d. 518), and Khinie (a.d. 964-976), were not 
mere dreamers of dreams. 

One object of my volumes is to illustrate these re- 
markable coincidences and divergences. A flying visit 
in the spring of 1876 to the old haunts which I left in 
1848, has also enabled me to compare the present with 
the nearer past, and to forecast the future of the " Un- 
happy Valley." The machinery of my first two editions, 
dating from 1851, has been retained. Mr. Sabine 
Baring-Gould adopted something similar for his plea- 
sant and valuable volume, Iceland: its Scenes and Sagas. 
I have borrowed copiously, from Scinde, or the Unhappy 
Valley (London: Bentley, 1851), whatever of enduring 
interest was in it ; and the flattering opinions expressed 
concerning that early venture by the best of judges, by 
those who are domiciled in the country, have encouraged 
me to present it for a third time to the English readers. 
The opportunity may not be propitious; the public 
brain is still haunted by what has been called "the 
great Indian nightmare ; " but I look to more than mere 
transient popularity, and I firmly trust that these notes, 
notices, and scenes in Sind will enjoy a longer life than 
that which falls to the generality of " light " books. 

For the transliteration of Oriental words, the system 
of Sir William Jones, as adopted in the well-known 
Richardson' s Dictionary, Persian, Arabic, and English, 
enlarged by Francis Johnson, has been chosen, without 
"improvements." Instead of the long sign (e.g., a) the 



x Preface. 

acute accent has been preferred (a), but that is a mere affair 
of personal choice. Orientalists have, it appears to me, 
given themselves much needless trouble in this matter, 
which is of so little importance to the general reader. 
It is sufficient to adhere to one uniform system, even 
that of Lepsius, in which our old friend " Shaykh," or 
" Sheikh," appears queer ly disguised as " Se^" ; and every 
scholar will see what is meant, whilst those unversed in 
Asiatic languages will not be confused by such varieties 
of the same word as Sind, Scinde, Sindh, and Sindhu. 
The latter is undoubtedly correct, every word terminating 
in a vowel; but the former, which is the Arabic and 
Persian form, has been officially patronized. 

Finally, the dedication addressed in 1851 to Lieut. - 
Colonel, afterwards General, Sir "Walter Scott, has per- 
force been changed. My dear old friend finished his 
career full of years and honours during my flying trip 
in 1876, and he did not receive the last letter which 
I addressed to him from a country where his name will 
not readily be forgotten. 

EICHAED F. BUETON. 

Trieste, August 1st, 1876. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

PAGK 

Mr. John Bull and I land at Bombay — The " Season " at the 
Presidency — Travelling to Sind in the old day and in 
the new day— The Voyage ... ... ... ... 1 

CHAPTER II. 

We make Karachi — First Glimpse at the u Unhappy Valley " — 

Native Town, Ancient and Modern ... ... ... 28 

CHAPTER III. 

The Cantonment, Karachi, and its "Humours" — The Anglo- 
Indian Army " Rotten from Head to Foot " — Society and 
Politics ... ... ... ... ... ... 51 

CHAPTER IV. 

Clifton— Ghisri Bandar — The Alligator-Tank ... ... 82 

CHAPTER V. 

The March from Karachi — The Memory of the very pretty 

Persian Girl ... ... ... ... ... ... 107 

CHAPTER VI. 

The Legend of Bambra, the Ruin — Sindia Deserta, the Fare- 
well Order of a Commander-in-Chief, and the Camel-Ride 124 



xii Contents. 



CHAPTEK VII. 

TAGE 

Thatha and its Holy Hill ... ... ... ... 142 

CHAPTER VIII. 

The Capture op Thatha in the Olden Time ... ... 164 

CHAPTER IX. 
Shaykh Radhan— Fevers— The Howling Waste ... ... 174 

CHAPTER X. 

The Seven Headless Prophets ... ... ... ... 194 

CHAPTER XL 

SUNDAN AND JARAK — BUDHIST REMAINS ... ... ... 213 

CHAPTER XII. 

Kotri— The Ruined Intrenched Camp— The Two Roads to 

Haydarabad ... ... ... ... 230 

CHAPTER XIII. 
Haydarabad— Fort— Tombs and Town ... 247 

CHAPTER XIV. 

The Hindus of Sind-Their Rascality and their Philoprogeni- 

TIVENESS 269 

CHAPTER XV. 
The Sindi Man— His Character, and especially what he drinks 296 

CHAPTER XVI. 
The Sindi Woman— Especially her Person and Dress 317 



SIND REVISITED. 



■•Ot- 



CHAPTER I. 

MR. JOHN BULL AND I LAND AT BOMBAY — THE 
" SEASON" AT THE PRESIDENCY — TRAVELLING 
TO SIND IN THE OLD DAY AND IN THE NEW 
DAY THE VOYAGE. 

"Step in, Mr. John Bull." 

" After you, sir." 

The doctor advised change of air, and you 
wisely chose, for the winter, Western India. In 
days to come, this will be the favourite hibernal 
trip of your sons and your sons' sons. You 
marvelled at the Suez Canal, and the sight of the 
frequent Union Jack on its French waters made 
you feel still a man. You did not grudge your 
four millions. Despite the formal parliamentary 
assertions of Under-Secretaries pledging their 
faith that " never were you more respected," 
you are so accustomed, of late years, to being 
slighted and pooh-poohed, that the mildest show 

vol. i. 1 



Sind Revisited. 



of energy, of life, is delightful in the old house. 
Egypt you now look upon as your pet protege. 
In these days you would not drive Mohammed Ali 
Pasha out of Syria, nor " chuck him into the Nile." 
After the repudiation of the miserable Turk, for 
whom you fought that miserable Crimean failure, 
you feel a load off your mind. That Ottoman was 
an incubus to you ; you despised him, you disliked 
him, and you were ashamed of the connection, only 
that son of yours in the Stock Exchange would not 
hear a word against " Turks," till the latter " went 
krach," as the Austrians say, and brought down the 
wrath of general Europe upon his devoted and 
shaven head. The wretched creature's existence 
now rests upon the jealousies of rival Powers, and 
the moment these cease he drees his doom. 

You sighted from afar Port Suez, once the 
" Grand Dep6t for Overland Babies," and now not 
even that. The whitewashed sepulchre of a town 
looks as if it had been lately bombarded, but it has 
done worse— incurred the wrath of M. de Lesseps. 
You shudder in the cool Etesian gale which, they 
say, that ribbon of water has drawn from the 
Mediterranean. You hear of snow covering the 
adjoining hills, Atakeh and Abu Diraj, a pheno- 
menon unknown in the 4000 years of Egyptian 
history. You endure, upon the Suez Gulf, two sharp 
showers even in January. You are assured that the 
climate of the whole northern half of the Erythrean 
Sea has changed You are also informed that the 
children of Israel never crossed the Eed Sea ; that 



At Bombay. 3 

the Hebrew and Coptic " Yamm Siif," Sea of Weeds, 
never meant the Eed Sea ; and that all those who 
consigned Pharaoh and his host to the Eed Sea are 
in error — an error, by-the-by, which has lasted some 
fifteen centuries. This is tough cud to chew. 

You ask me about Jeddah, and I refuse to 
answer, to tell a twice-told tale. You are anxious 
for information about the lighthouses, or rather 
the want of them, which makes this long, narrow 
barathrum a place of terror to mariners. You are 
curious about Mocha and its coffee ; about Hu- 
daydah and its routes into the interior ; about the 
condition of the Ottoman in Yemen ; about the 
treatment of the Jews in the ex -capital of the 
Zaydi heretics ; about cholera in Arabia ; about 
private schools at Aden, and about a host of 
similar statistical, moral, and geographical points. 
One of these days, Mr. Bull, when the jealous 
and impossible Turk shall again have been turned, 
ignominiously as usual, out of Arabia ; and when 
the friendly, docile, and progressive Egyptian shall 
have taken his place, then I shall offer my ser- 
vices to .you as courier down the eastern coast of 
the Erythrean Sea, up to Sena'a in Yemen, the 
once splendid metropolis of that hapless land whose 
name means " The Happy." 

At Bombay you admired the changes which the 
labours of the last quarter- century have effected — 
the reclamation of the foreshore, the huge line of 
intended docks, the two railways, and the tram- 
ways. You learned that the shower of gold which 



Sind Revisited. 



has descended upon the world managed to add, here 
also, a New Town to an Old Town. The former, you 
were told, is called "Frere Town," and you mar- 
velled at its queer and unjustifiable mixture of the 
Veneto-Gothic, the intensely Classical, the Claret- 
Case, and the verandah' d house of no order at all. 
You straightway dubbed Old Town "Sassoon Town," 
from a family which has left its mark not only upon 
Bombay and Poonah, Matharan and Mahabaleshwar, 
but even upon your own Babylon. You studied 
the word " peg " at the three clubs, the Bombay, 
the Byculla (Bhaikala), and the Chess. You went 
to a ball, and found it dull ; to a concert — duller ; 
to the barn-theatre — dullest. You were invited to 
a Government House "garden-party," and saw 
fifty decently clad people promenading sadly as con- 
victs up and down their strip of jail -ground. You 
attended a dinner given by the normal "gentlemanly 
nonentity," as the lieges say, who governs but who 
does not rule, and you found it fearfully long, hot, 
and slow. You walked, umbrella-less, in the mid- 
day sun, to Malabar Point, and pronounced it cool. 
You put in an appearance at the races and the 
steeplechase, and discovered almost all the horses to 
be half-bred Persians, and the native "jocks" a 
race created to lose races. Lastly, you hurried to 
see a regatta, and you saw nothing. 

And now, having happily escaped the gaieties of 
a Bombay " season," you propose a trip to Sind, or 
the Unhappy Valley ; chiefly, I believe, because all 
the Presidency world declares that the sun is fatal ; 



Ancient Travel. 



that small-pox and cholera rage there ; that plague 
is coming down, full gallop, from "the Gulf"- — briefly, 
that it will be the death of you. Here, sir, my 
experience may be of use. It began with the 
" forties," when we entrusted our persons to the 
Pattimdr, a native craft that rarely made the 
trip under six weeks ; at least during the north-east 
monsoon, which upon this coast blows regularly from 
the north-west. Yet those who could afford time 
did not think it wholly wasted. We landed every 
second day ; we saw all the sights — Bassein, Daman, 
Surat, and the tombs of Vaux and Tom Cory at ; 
Diu Head and Fort ; Ja'afarabad ; the ruins of 
Somanath ; the Dwarika" Pagoda ; Kachh- (Cutch-) 
Mandavi, and the Indus mouths. We called upon 
the village chiefs ; we chatted with the villagers ; 
we learned much about the country, and we taught 
the country something concerning ourselves. At 
this season, a coasting voyage northwards in a 
sailing craft might have been " a beautiful illustra- 
tion of the Moral Impossible," yet there are some of 
us who would not be sorry for another chance. It 
was dawdling work, true, but you felt fresh as air ; 
you had room enough and to spare, and you were 
not worried by the hurry-scurry of the mail-line 
steamer. 

Then began the transit per steamers of the 
" Bombay Marine," alias the Indian Navy ; they 
soon became most unpopular with travellers, whom 
the officers heartily disliked. Nothing, indeed, 
is more unpleasant than to pay merchant-ship 



Sind Revisited. 



passage for naval discipline, except for navy-men to 
receive passengers without directly profiting by the 
transaction. And the items of the Imitation Navy 
were individuals of infinite importance, at least in 
their own estimation, if not in that of others. The 
subalterns in those steam-frigates were regular sea- 
satraps ; under authority it is true, but not a whit 
the less capable of passing on authority in a style 
which rendered it extra authoritative. The cloth 
was rabid at the degradation of having to carry 
" soldier-officers, " and of being obliged to defile 
their spotless decks with "dirty passengers " and 
"filthy sepoys." Let me sketch for you a day on 
board the " Merry Miss," as the sailors called the 
Semiramis, that confounded place of punishment 
with a high-flown name, now degraded to a hulk 
and still floating in Bombay harbour. 

We rose early. Exactly at 3.30 a.m., one of 
your old favourites, the heroes of your juvenile 
years, a " Jack Tar," growled — 

" Tum'le up there ; goin' t' wash dex." 
And if you did not obey the order instanter, he 
swamped you and your couch with a tubful of cold 
salt water. The best joke the jolly, light-hearted 
fellows knew was to make a land-lubber thoroughly 
miserable. 

Eising in our day-shirts, which thus did 

double duty, and in certain cotton drawers called 

' Pajamehs "—highly advisable when sleeping en 

evidence— -we chose a seat, the bulwarks, or 

any other elevation inaccessible to the swirling 



The Old Steamer. 



streams dashed over the quarter-deck and at our 
nether limbs. We then attempted ablutions ; not 
with the priggish precision of Bengalis, who 
begin to ply the tooth-brush in their verandahs 
an hour before dawn : ours was a catholic, syncre- 
tistic style of lavation, performed, campaigning 
fashion, in a tinned pan called a "Gendi." We were 
thus ready for coffee on deck (6 a.m.), and presently 
for breakfast — a meal finished rapidly, no one 
relishing milkless tea or tincture of coffee, which 
on a pinch might serve for ipecacuanha. Yet on 
board these " Shippes of Helle " we ate and drank 
like Ghuls or schoolboys, because we paid one 
pound per diem for our panatica. At noon we 
reassembled to "make it twelve" by imbibing 
" brandy-pani " and crunching sea-biscuit. At 
3 p.m. we dined with the juniors in the gun-room ; 
for subalterns could not pass the dread portals of 
the state cabin, where sat the captain, surrounded 
by his field-officer passengers. Three hours after- 
wards, we again applied the spur to jaded appetite, 
and "took tea" — a meal consisting of a devilled 
biscuit and pale ale ; — and from that time forwards 
we adhibited to ourselves as much liquid aliment 
and diffusible stimulant as we could dispose of, 
well or ill. Between whiles we smoked, generally 
Manilla cheroots, now supplanted by foul Dindigals 
and fetid " Trichies ; " sometimes we inhaled a 
Hukkah, Shishah, Kalyun, or "hubble-bubble" to 
feed the comical indignation of our nautical friends 
— the water-pipe has now clean disappeared from 



Sind Revisited. 



Anglo-Indian society, and its place has been taken 
by the ditcher's dudheen or the silly cigarette. 

You, Mr. Bull, must well remember what ship- 
cookery was in those days— how greasy fluid 
represented the potage ; how the pickle-bottles 
contained "passenger-pickles," i.e. so hot that a 
pound lasted you a year; how the bluish-red or 
boiled-to-tatters mutton tasted exactly as if it had 
been cooked in the engine-room; how politeness 
forbade the appearance of "salt horse" and pea-soup, 
pork and pease-puddings, the only eatable things 
on board; and, finally, how the fat steam of the 
vegetables suggested nothing but an over-used 
torchon. 

The horrors of the day began in real earnest 
after breakfast. We could not sit in the rattling, 
creaking, groaning, throbbing, shivering, steaming 
gun-room, redolent with the bouquet of fat meat 
and sour bread. The deck had a canvas awning, 
but it was as efficacious to protect you from 
Phoebus Apollo's wrath as a lady's park-parasol 
against a gin-palace on fire. We could not read, 
even if books were forthcoming, which was not the 
case ; we found no way to talk, even with the will. 
Probably half a sepoy regiment was on board. 
Possibly, also, the party contained a " lady ; " and 
however pleasant may be the presence of the fair 
sex in its normal place, on board ship — ahem ! 
Five gentlemen were paying her devoted attentions ; 
Nos. 1 and 2 walked arm in arm with her, each 
speaking in his own whisper; a third followed, 



The Old " Merry Miss" 



holding her parasol ; another preceded her with 
her novel, and No. 5 skirmished about her with 
her lapdog. Most of them were Irishmen ; all were 
fierce as fiends ; it was not commonly safe even to 
look that way. 

At last, as six bells struck, 11 p.m., we pro- 
ceeded to " turn in," if that nautical phrase apply 
to depositing one's person upon the contents of a 
large bundle — pillows, padded coverlet, sheets for 
those who use them, and sleeping mat — spread upon 
some spare place where the quarter-deck deigned to 
receive us. Hereabouts men lie on bed, not in bed ; 
and every morning you may see a man taking up 
his bed and walking. The only amusement of the 
last hours was the contemplation of peculiar Anglo- 
Indianisms : the " fast " youth, the " grumpy " old 
captain, and the fashionable major, who knew what 
wine was. 

At times our slumbers were broken by showers, 
a meteor not uncommon on the edge of the 
tropics : it was a signal to clutch up the sleeping- 
gear, and to bolt into the gun-room as fast as we 
could. The agile managed to secure a table-top, or 
a quiet place under it ; but all avoided occupying 
any part of the narrow strip of thoroughfare which 
surrounded that venerable piece of furniture. Other- 
wise sleep was not sweetened by one of your 
favourite Ben Braces or Bill Bowlings walking 
slowly over your countenance with the thickest of 
ammunition boots. Some preparations for warmth 
were also indispensable. In the cold season of 



10 Sind Revisited. 

the North Arabian Sea, if it is Jehannum by day, 
by night it is generally Barahut, Mohammed 
and Dante's cold place of punishment. And, par 
parenthese, especially avoid sleeping in the moon- 
light. You omniscient Britishers may laugh at what 
I am going to tell you, still it is not less true. 
Many an incautious " coloured person," not including 
my old colonel, Corsellis, has risen in the morning 
from his soft slumbers under " Cynthia's coolly ray," 
with one half of his face by no means reflecting the 
other, and it probably took him a year or two to 
recover from the effect of the moonstroke. I tried 
the experiment upon my Munshi from Maskat, a 
man of nervous temperament, who declared that it 
always made him ill ; and true enough, next morn- 
ing he looked grey-skinned, sunken-eyed, and 
hollow-cheeked, as if he had just risen from a sick 
bed. 

Lastly, about a.d. 1845, the P. and 0. Company 
relieved the Indian navy of its Suez mails, and 
Bombay presently began to bestir herself in estab- 
lishing a Steam Navigation Company. My first 
acquaintance with it was not happy. The s.s. 
Dwarha, which, after carrying me in 1853 from 
Jeddah to Suez, foundered in 1862 at the mouth 
of the Tapti or Surat river, started (October 29, 
1847) for Karachi. She had doubled the Cape, but 
she carried no pilot ; not a soul on board knew any- 
thing of a coast abounding in shoals and eddies ; 
and, lastly, when we were nearing the then danger- 
ous entrance of our destined haven, we found the 



The Old Dwarha. 11 

captain drowned in strong waters, and the chief 
officer " fighting fou." Being the senior com- 
mission on board, I took command : we soused 
No. 1 ; we tied up No. 2 ; the Pioneers head 
was turned towards Arabia, with orders to steam 
easy all night ; and next morning saw us safely 
ashore. 

The Bombay-Karachi line has now fallen a prey 
to the British India Steam Navigation Company 
(Limited) ; and this section has only one disadvan- 
tage, the result of non-competition. It is simply the 
dearest passage of the nineteenth century. We 
shall steam by the direct branch on Friday at 5 p.m., 
we shall land at 8 a.m. on the next Monday, and 
for two whole days, with as many "bittocks," we 
shall pay (return tickets, mind!) rupees 162, or 
about .£4 per diem. No wonder the <£50 shares are 
at <£86, and the company turns some 12 to 13 per 
cent. How long this absurd monopoly will last it 
is hard to say. The printed list of steamers shows 
fifty hull distributed over nineteen lines, and con- 
nections from Southampton to Delagoa Bay, and 
from Basreh (Bassora) to Borneo. The inevitable 
" canny Scot " rules the roast, and doubtless will 
fight hard to keep rivals out of the kitchen. Still, 
methinks there is ample room for one or more 
competing companies ; and the sooner the Austro- 
Hungarian Lloyds, under its indefatigable agent, 
Mr. Gumpert, establishes a branch along the western 
coast of India, from Karachi to Point de Galle, 
the better it will be for travellers and for themselves. 



12 Sind Revisited. 



We shall be lucky if we catch the Cocanada, 
Captain Morris, who will make us comfortable 
on board, and prove himself a most agreeable 
and competent cicerone. The ships on this section 
are mostly sisters, averaging about 800 tons, with 
150 horse-power, and going between eight and 
a half and nine knots an hour. The decks are 
clean, except only when the influx of native pas- 
sengers makes them a lively likeness of a slaver's 
hold, and the brasses are bright as in the best 
London tavern ; for there is a large crew of Surat 
Moslems, the descendants of the classical Sanganian 
pirates of Sanka, and the best of Eastern Coast 
seamen. The Kathiawar (Kattywar) men are mere 
softies ; they hate discipline and regularity, and 
they grumble at the work, which consists chiefly of 
squatting on the hams, holystoning, and metal rub- 
bing. Yet they are rationed, like English seamen, 
with meat or fish, bread, vegetables, and even tea. 

We give a wide berth to the Prongs lighthouse, 
that noble work of Mr. Ormiston, C.E., who is 
still criticized for not building it farther out — the 
Anglo-Indian Public is nothing if not critical. 
Suffice it to say, he has his reasons, and they are 
good reasons ; but we amateurs always will dictate 
to professionals. Coconada avoids the fishing 
stakes, which do not appear in any chart: they 
lie some seven miles west-by-north of the outer 
light- vessel ; they are tree-trunks, which would rip 
up a bottom like Mississippi snags; each costs 
Rs. 60, and they are removed by the Koli fisher- 



The New Steamer. 13 

men before each rainy monsoon. They date from 
the earliest days ; the Portuguese did not venture to 
interfere with these vested interests, and we have 
followed the good example of our predecessors. Let 
us hope soon to see this dangerous patch of ground 
marked by a riding-light. 

Our course now lies west-north-west, too far from 
the Gujrat (Guzerat) coast to distinguish the beauties 
of that riant land, the garden of Western India, with 
a climate partaking of the tropical lowlands and the 
Dakhan (Deccan) uplands. The wind, which at this 
season is sure to be dead ahead, sensibly increases ; 
a gale seems in prospect ; and no one, I believe, 
ever crossed the Gulf of Surashtra without being 
in, or in the neighbourhood of, a storm. 

The next day opens with a distant prospect of 
Diu Fort in K^thiaw^r, a rounded headland backed 
by little sand-hills, and fronted with eddies, shallows, 
and backwaters, while the dangerous Malaiki (mis- 
called " Malacca ") Shoals lie higher up the bay. All 
know the far-famed assedio (siege) in which the 
Christian beat off the Infidel, and the grim joke 
of Nunho da Cunha, humiliate capita vestra Deo, 
as the bullets whistled over the heads of his " con- 
quistadores." Here, according to Western annals, 
Portuguese valour never shone brighter, and, ac- 
cording to Eastern, never did Portuguese treachery 
appear in blacker colours. 

A little east of Diu is Ja'afaraMd, the pleasure- 
seat of the Sidi, or African ex-admiral ; his official 
head-quarters are at the pirate's den, " Jazireh," 



14 Sind Eevisted. 



which, meaning in Arabic the " Island," our people 
will pervert to "Jhinjhira." The classical practice 
of plundering merchantmen was an institution 
upon the whole Asiatic sea-board of the Indian 
Ocean. It began with Hazramaut ; it stretched the 
whole length of the Persian Gulf ; it ran eastward 
along Mekran ; it embraced Kachh, Kdthiawar, the 
Konkans, Northern and Southern ; and it ended in 
India with Malabar and Cape Comorin. Don't 
confound these water-robbers with your John Paul 
Joneses and Captain Kyds. Here, for half the year, 
they were, as in China, peaceful tillers of the soil ; 
during the other half, or navigation season, they 
launched their boats and became regular sea-Thugs. 
Were we to withdraw our forces from India, a week 
would see the industry flourishing once more, strong 
and lively, as if the snake had never been scotched. 
We are now in blue water, clear blue as the 
Mediterranean ; a notable change from the mud-and- 
mangrove-tainted seas which deform Bombay, and 
from the dirty-green produce of the Cambay Gulf, 
whose various rivers, the Sabarmati of Ahmadabdd, 
the Mahi of Baroda, the Narbada" of Baroch, and 
the Tapti of Surat, produce not only ugly eddies, 
but an eternal current to the south. It is unpar- 
donable to wreck a ship upon the coast of Kathiawar, 
where rock subtends the shore for six miles ; and 
mud lies between that and twelve knots, at which 
fine hard sand begins. But the safest courses gene- 
rally become the most dangerous, by carelessness in 
lead and look-out, even as horsemen and whips 



The Colonada. 15 

often come to grief upon the smoothest roads. The 
glorious old Cunard is the only company that can 
boast, for thirty-five years, never to have lost a life 
or a letter, and the P. and 0. is a notable offender 
in the art and mystery of wrecking made easy. 

A few hours after the spires and towers, the 
bastions and curtains, of now ruined Diu have dis- 
appeared, we make steam along a shelving sandy 
shore, backed by the lone and misty form of Juna- 
garh, better known as Gfrn&r. It is far-famed for 
Hindu suicides ; many a mother escapes her diffi- 
culties by vowing that a son shall hurl himself from 
those rosy granite cliffs, and few are undutiful enough 
to falsify the parent's promise. It will be long, sir, 
before filial piety goes to such lengths in England. 
We then pass the unimportant Mul Dwarika, the 
old original temple. Some hours beyond it lies 
Patan, with its big black bulwarks and dots of 
white buildings ; and just outside is Viravanjan, 
the black Pagoda, with the towering " Gumat," or 
pyramid-steeple, which has taken the status — 

"Of Somnath Puttun in Kattywar," 

as one of our local bards geographically and un- 
musically sings. I cannot tell you what has become 
of the sandal-wood gates before which Lord Ellen- 
borough, in the pages of Punch, danced with all his 
might. You are right ; they would have been a 
good "spec," fruitful as the True Cross, the Royal 
George, or Shakespeare's mulberry. Who could 
have resisted the attraction of a snuff-box known 



16 Sind Revisited. 

to antedate five centuries ? But I say no more. 
The Gates of Somanath have filled more pages than 
the Gates of Gaza. 

Here you catch a glimpse of the latter end of 
Kajputdna" — the Land of the self-styled Children 
of the Sun and Moon, a nation of noblemen, whose 
pedigree dates, as you may guess from the family 
name, long before the Conquest, and who, withal, 
have little to recommend them beyond luminous 
origin, and a terrible habit of romancing that has 
imposed upon many, notably upon Colonel Tod. 
Like the Beloch, the Welsh, and other semi-bar- 
barous peoples, they still support minstrels, trouba- 
dours, or trouveres — an order of men whose only 
occupation is to scatter the dust of many " crams " 
and " shams " over the venerable ruins of the past ; 
and to put together as many curious and complicated 
fibs as they can. " Civilization " Buckle declared that 
the fountain and scattering-place of such distortions 
are to be found in pen and ink ; that legends were 
perverted and supplemented, not by the tongue, 
but by paper. However, he had no practical know- 
ledge of the subject, and perhaps he was thinking 
of his pet dislike, " Paul of Tarsus." 

The scenery now becomes interesting enough. 
We run within three miles of land, and every half- 
hour supplies us with a change of prospect. The ever- 
shifting coast-scene is dotted with fortified towns 
and tree-girt villages, here glittering in the humid 
sunshine, there almost hid by dense growth ; while 
the background is a range of lofty mountains whose 



Dwdrika. 17 

forested crests, unconcealed by even the semblance 
of a mist, cut in jagged lines the deep blue surface 
of an Eastern sky. For here we approach the 
verge of the Temperates. The firmament is no 
longer, as in the tropical Konkan, a milky mono- 
chrome ; the breeze is crisp and cool : now we can 
sit beyond its influence without perspiring, whereas 
in Bombay we should feel parboiled ; and we recog- 
nize with pleasure that the general aspect of nature 
suggests Southern Italy in November. 

At a distance you might mistake that lofty 
fretted and pinnacled tower, whose huge flag may 
be seen nearly 17 miles off, for the spire of a fine old 
cathedral in good old Normandy. It is the Pagoda 
of Dwarikandth or Jagat-ndth, Lord of the World, 
a title of Krishna ; this revered spot with its sacred 
streams, where some half million of pilgrims 
annually flock to spend their money upon Moksha 
(emancipation from the flesh), to receive the brand of 
the demi-deity, to die of some epidemic, and to feed 
the hungry sharks that haunt the bay awaiting 
" cold pilgrim." I visited it in 1846, and found it 
a most turbulent place ; now, however, the white 
bungalows and the sepoy lines assure us that it has 
a garrison from Eajkot. In November, 1859, after 
the great Mutiny (1857-58), the Dwarika* temple and 
the wealthy pagoda in Beyt islet, which lies round 
the corner at the southern jaw-point of the Kachh 
Gulf, were occupied by the fugitive " Pandis," who 
began by plundering, and who ended by fortifying 
their strongholds. The mutineers were joined by 
vol. i. 2 



1 8 Sind Revisited. 

the Waghars, the Jangali or wild tribes of the 
adjoining Birda Hills, and at last the Bombay 
Government resolved upon dislodging them. 

A goodly force of some 2000 men, including 
Hussars and a Naval Brigade, was carried to the 
scene of action by ten ships, of which four were 
transports ; and fire was first opened upon yonder 
robbers' den, Beyt. After a short and ineffectual 
bombardment, which should have been prolonged 
till the place was evacuated, a storming party was 
sent in during the short twilight, and incontinently 
it came to grief. The mutineers had barricaded the 
streets, and their guns, loaded to the muzzle with 
grape and musket balls, had been trained to sweep 
the approaches. The consequence was prodigious 
loss of life, and though the 2000 natives were 
eventually dislodged, the Colonel-commanding found 
it advisable to revisit England. The second attack 
was even worse. Dwarika" was surrounded, but 
the astute besieged escaped by driving out a large 
herd of cattle, upon which the pious sepoy would 
not fire, and by using them as shields or mantlets. 
The Hussars followed, but the fugitives soon reached 
the Birda Hills, where they found protection amongst 
their Waghar friends. The loot at Beyt and Dwanka 
—the silver ladders to approach the idol, the lumps 
of gold, the necklaces of brilliants and of other 
precious stones, and the quantities of fine old wine 
cellared by the priests— was described to me by an 
actor in the play with a zest which made the 
mouth water. " Frere Hall " (Karachi) contains 



The Forest Aflame, ' 19 

two curiously carved wooden columns, taken from 
the temple before it was blown up ; on the top 
stand four Krishnas playing on the flute, the G-opis 
and Gopals (shepherds and shepherdesses) dance in 
spiral to the music, and the whole rests upon an 
elephant's back. The plunder may have been satis- 
factory, but the management was by no means 
creditable to our arms. 

The Waghars are again " Yaghi " (mutinous) ; 
and, lately, they have been at their traditional " little 
game " of robbing travellers and sacking villages. 
They refuse to till the ground, and apparently dis- 
dain honest industry in general. The example of the 
Bhil and the Mdpillah (Moplah) corps in Khandesh 
and Malabar should teach us how to treat them. 
But at present the omnipotent Eupee is the one 
worshipped idol of an impecunious Chancellor of 
the Exchequer : both at home and in India every 
Machiavellian art is applied to saving a sixpence by 
the outlay of a shilling. 

At night you remark the vast sheet of fire 
which spreads like lightning over the horizon-hills. 
The uplands are covered with brakes of the hugest 
bamboos, which, when dry, are readily ignited by 
friction and high winds. It is a favourite theme 
with the Hindu muse, this Forest aflame ; and 
now that you have witnessed it, even from afar, 
you can conceive how much glowing description 
and tenebrous terminology may be expended upon 
it. Moreover, the sea seems to emulate the land ; 
water is apparently jealous of earth. Upon the 



20 Sind Revisited. 



purple-black main we see long bars and plains of 
sparkling fire evidently bearing down upon us. It 
is nothing more dangerous than fish pursuing the 
light-bearing phosphoric atoms of the deep, yet 
many a startled youngster has been deluded into 
singing out "Breakers ahead!" The phenomenon 
reminds us that we here take leave of the ad- 
mirable pomfret, the " Indian turbot," which you 
may eat every day without being weary of its 
firm flesh and delicate flavour. Along the coast 
of K^thiawar they are unusually large, rivalling in 
size the John- dory ; but they do not extend north- 
wards. According to the people, they must not 
turn tail towards idyllic Krishna's holiest shrine ; 
and you will hear the same legend anent the Pallo 
of Sind. You now understand why the author of 
" By Sea and by Land " visited Bombay, despite 
a game leg, to eat pomfret and prawn-curry. 

On the fourth noon we lose sight of land. We 
are striking right across the Gulf of Kachh, where 
the tide flows an hour longer than elsewhere. Some- 
thing has been said, and there is still something 
to say, about the Kanthus of Ptolemy, the proba- 
bility versus the possibility of the Ran ever 
having been an inland sea, the creation of the 
Allah-band (God's Dyke), the voyage of Nearchus, 
and the accuracy or the errors of Arrian. But 
I have talked and heard, read and written, about 
the Kanthus and the Ran, the Allah-band, Nearchus 
and Arrian, till the very names have became pro- 
vocatives of qualm — of nausea in the throat, as the 
old Egyptians have it. 



Swatch of No-ground. 21 

The world is dark, save for the sea-fire, whilst 
we steam along the base of the Indus delta, that 
" Paradise of the aquatic avi-fauna," whose thirteen 
or fourteen gapes cover 104 miles in length, and 
whose ever-growing banks add seven miles to our 
voyage of 500. Thus we miss Lahori on the 
Hajamri mouth, the old emporium of Sind, the 
site of the first English factory, and the " Larri- 
bundar" of that stout old merchant-mariner, 
Captain Hamilton (1699), who landed here en 
route to Thatha\ Shortly after 9 p.m. we cross a 
ditch between the Manijdh bank north, and the Kori 
or Lakhpat bank south. This is the famous " Swatch 
of No-ground," where the lead falls at once into 200 
fathoms, and it reminds us of certain "bottomless 
pits " on the west coast of Africa and elsewhere. It 
is the submarine bed and mouth of that ancient 
river, the Eastern Ndrd,, where, in the days of 
Alexander the Great and the Chinese travellers, 
the Indus debouched some sixty miles east of the 
present line. But you will hear and see more of 
that presently. 

Six hours before arrival we shall reach the "Forty 
Fathoms Bank," and then we shall turn the good 
ship Coconada's head due north. We give a wide 
berth to this sea of shoals, which has absolutely no 
landmarks. Along the Kachh coast, low and uni- 
form as it appears, there are at any rate scattered 
towns and villages, tombs, and topes. Note, also, 
that we have been, theoretically, steaming uphill. 
According to the late Archdeacon Pratt, the attrac- 



22 Sind Revisited. 



tion of the Himalayas raises the sea off the Sind coast 
some 540 feet above its level off Cape Comorin ; and 
thus we realize the labour of Ulysses — 

"For ever climbing up the climbing wave." 

This statement has lately been repeated, with- 
out quoting, or perhaps without knowing, the 
authority for it, by Mr. William Desborough Cooley, 
of pugnacious and incredulous memory, in an un- 
called-for little volume on Physical Geography — 
Political Geography being ignored because the 
branch is patronized by his pet enemies, the Eoyal 
Geographical Society. I can only say that this 
uphill-sea is thoroughly proved by mathematics, 
and disproved by practical experience : it ought to 
be the case, but it is not. 

Here we are at last, after a run of 507 miles, 
which "Murray" stretches to 808. The extremity 
of that long line of fawn-coloured nummulitic hills 
stretching athwart-ship nearly due east and west 
is Cape Monz, or Muari, the seaward head of the 
Pabb or Hala Hills, which prolong the Kirthar 
Mountains. Its notch and three table-topped lumps 
are useful landmarks during the fogs and the Sind 
showers (dust-storms) which hide Manhora ; but, sad 
to say, it has also its debatable and debated classical 
name — Eiros. In front lies the regular quoin of 
Manhora, separating the Bay of Karachi from its 
neighbour, Sonmiyani, some fifty miles to the north- 
west. This is the western staple of the southern 
gateway to our Unhappy Valley. The build and 



First Sight of Sind. 23 

material — a silicious pudding of water-rolled stones, 
loose and crumbling sandstone, and fossil oysters of 
modern species, which rest upon blue clay and 
lignite — are not unsuitable to the rest of the ap- 
proach, a shore of yellow silex, backed by the fields 
of marshy mangrove and the dark, slab mud which 
form the inner region. The eastern jamb originally 
consisted of six or seven craggy piles of banded 
sandstone, the Oyster Rocks or Baur Islands, where 
the mollusk still survives. The group lies nearly 
on a meridian ; " Little Andai," pierced with a 
cave, is the northernmost, and " Great Andia ,: 
raises its pyramidal head at the opposite end. They 
are to this region what the Pigeon Islands are to 
Syrian Bayrut, and the Needles to the last bit of 
Old England which detained your longing looks. 
Far over them to starboard appears the Canton- 
ment, with its three landmarks — the cocky little 
Scotch kirk pertly fronting its big brother, and the 
battlemented tower of Trinity, which looks like a 
line of houses set on end ; while further south rises 
a pretentious bit of misplaced Gothic, yclept " Frere 
Hall." The Bay of Karachi thence stretches its 
depth some three and a half miles to the south-east, 
with a very shallow sag, and ends at Clifton, the 
raised left bank of the old Chini Creek. 

Now, sir, you stand within sight of the young 
Alexandria of our Young Egypt. Jupiter Amnion's 
son was Sir Charles Napier, popularly called " Old 
Charley," and by the natives " Shaytan ka Bhal " 
(Satan's brother). The juvenile title is, by-the-by, 



24 Sind Revisited. 



utterly inapplicable to the Unhappy Valley, the dry- 
nurse of the Vaidic race, and the head-quarters of 
earliest Hindu history. The soubriquet from a 
"chaff" became a party- word, a war-cry; it arose 
from an official proclamation, which announced the 
new conquest to be " equal to Egypt in fertility/' 
and it developed itself into a " rile." Certainly the 
first aspect much reminds us of General Amru's 
despatch to his Commander-in-chief, the Khalifeh 
Umar-i-Khattab, in which he describes the land of 
the Nile as successively a desert, a lake, and a 
flower-garden. And here — with the yellow shore, 
white silt, and black mire ; the sun-burnt brown 
hills that stud the river- valley ; the dark-green 
tamarisk and the date-palms ; the blue air, not to 
speak of the Khamsin and the dust-storm, and the 
bluer sea, girt by its golden fillet of desert sand — 
the family likeness must at once strike every eye. 
Not only essentials, but even accidents, resemble one 
another : Manhora Head is Ea'as el-Tin, and the 
two breakwaters tell the same tale ; whilst " both 
ports, notwithstanding their vicinity to the mouths 
of silt-laden rivers, maintain a vitality which seems 
mainly ascribable to the drift being kept off by 
the action of the prevalent winds, which in both 
cases blow from the port towards the river." 1 

Here, sir, we stand where British arms first 
showed the vaunting Sindi and the blustering Beloch 

1 Page 1, '* Kurrachee Harbour Works. Memoir drawn up and 
compiled by W. H. Price, M. Inst. C.E., Superintendent of the 
Harbour Improvement Works. " 



Manhora Stormed. 25 

what the British Lion can do when disposed to be 
carnivorous. 

As Sir John, afterwards (the late) Lord Keane, 
at the end of " serving forty-five years in the four 
quarters of the globe," was marching up to take the 
city, which made the knight a baron, he and his 
gallant men were, they say, so evil entreated by the 
Lords of Indus-land, who would neither fight so as 
to give him the opportunity of " looting " them, nor 
make friends and bear a hand in looting others, 
that a reserve force was ultimately despatched from 
Bombay, to be stationed in this favoured region, 
and to teach its rude rulers better manners. 

Karachi was fixed upon as the point of disem- 
barkation. H. M. S. Wellesley, 74 (Admiral Maitland), 
and the Hannah transport, having on board Her 
Majesty's 40th Begiment, together with a company 
of black Artillery, anchored, on February 5, 1839, 
under the walls of Manhora Fort, and summoned 
the garrison to surrender. 

" I am a Beloch, and will die first ! " was the 
reply of the bold barbarian who commanded the 
garrison. Moreover, he despatched a few Sindi spies 
to " humbug " the British Admiral and the Brigadier 
into the belief that Manhora was a Gibraltar, and 
the Beloch were perfect devils to fight. 

"And so are we," quoth those not-to-be-hum- 
bugged personages. 

Accordingly, dispositions were made for the 
attack. The regiment and the artillery were dis- 
embarked, whilst the seventy-four cleared decks for 



26 Sind Revisited. 



action. "When all was ready the fort was again 
requested, with true British humanity, to open its 
gates ; whereto it replied laconically, and tant soit 
peu Gallicanly, that " forts might be stormed, but 
they never surrender." Upon this the Wellesley 
rejoined tartly with a broadside, a regular hailstorm 
of balls, which, as might be expected, blew away 
the whole southern face of the enceinte of miserable 
masonry. 

The breach was then reported practicable, and 
a gallant band — 

" The full of hope, miscalled forlorn" — 

pressed forward to claim the honour and glory of 
daring the hero's death. 

"British Officers and Men!" etc., etc., etc. 

Inflamed by the normal expectations touching 
duty, which so hurt the feelings of our sailors at 
Trafalgar, the forlorn hope proceeded to assault. 
After pausing for a moment to take breath at the 
foot of the rock, they clambered up the steep side, 
and, tumbling alike over the wall and one another, 
dashed impetuous, with charging bayonets and the 
sturdiest possible hearts, right iuto the midst of 
Fort Manh6ra. 

Who could withstand such gallantry ? The 
garrison, an old man, a young woman, and a boy, 
instantly surrendered. So did Karachi town, and so 
did all the neighbouring districts. 

The Governor-General of India, while annexing 
the harbour, " had much gratification " in opining 



Allahu A'alam ! 27 

that "the prompt and effectual measures taken for 
reducing Karachi appeared to have been conducted 
in a manner such as to insure success." That high 
functionary was also pleased to praise " the forbear- 
ance both before and after the exertion of force" 
(what English!) "displayed by the commanders, 
naval and military, and by the brave bands they 
commanded." And, finally, he put the colophon 
upon the proceeding by declaring that, in con- 
sequence of this trifle, "the Ameers had forfeited 
all claims to the forbearance and the generosity of 
the British " (read " Anglo-Indian ") " Government." 

I am recounting, Mr. John Bull, the local, 
popular, and facetious version of the affair. Of course 
there is another one, and a serious. The narrator 
of " The Campaign of the Army of the Indus in 
Sind and Kaubool" assures us that the flying 
garrison, being captured, was found to consist of 
twenty men. Another great authority in such 
matters reduces the force to four or five ; and, more- 
over, affirms that a signal-gun was mistaken for a 
hostile demonstration, and that literally there was 
" not a shot in the locker." 

" Allahu A'alam ! " (Allah is all-knowing) — as 
Moslem divines say when compelled to relate an 
apocryphal tale : — " May the penalty of fiction fall 
with due weight upon the fictor's head ! " 

P.S . — Since the MS. went to press Girnar and its adjoining peaks 
have been admirably described in Blackwood (November, 1876) by 
my friend Andrew Wilson : nothing can be more interesting than 
the Sweating Statue and the live Ogres haunting the suicidal heights. 



2g Sind Revisited. 



CHAPTEK II. 

WE MAKE KARACHI— FIRST GLIMPSE AT THE ' UN- 
HAPPY VALLEY " — NATIVE TOWN, ANCIENT AND 
MODERN. 

" Well, I never ! " 

Of course not, sir. No one — man, woman, or 
child — ever sighted for the first time the face of 
" Young Egypt " without some such exclamation. 

"Oh, the barren, barren shore! A regular 
desert; a thread of low coast, sandy as a Scotch- 
man's whiskers ; a bald and dismal glaring waste, 
with visible and palpable heat playing over its 
dirty- white, dirty-yellow, and dirty-brown surface ; 
a get between a dust-bin and an oven ! " 

Too severe ! You were not so hard upon Eamleh, 
near Alexandria ; and you will like the look of 
Karachi better when you prospect it from above. 
Here, if anywhere, Sind has some elements of the 
picturesque. Westward rise the broken, jagged 
summits of the Kohistan or Mountain-land, the 
Pabb Hills and other outliers of Belochistan. Their 
sterile walls are said to imprison lovely valleys ; 
but sanitarium-lacking Karachi will neglect them 



Beauties of Sind. 29 

because she is ever looking forward to KeKt. 
These southernmost ramifications of the Kirthar 
Mountains, 1 formerly called the Hala Hills, end 
in the straight dorsum known as Cape Monz 
(Mudri) ; and nearer to us stretches the rocky tongue 
which, for want of another name, we must baptize 
" Pir Mangyar." In early morning, when Surya, 
the Sun-god, is striving against Megha-Eajah, the 
Cloud-king, you will see some fantastic effects of 
colouring. Within a few yards, yon cloud-shadows 
tincture the detached features of our two parallel 
ranges with every shade of blue, blue-brown, plum, 
amethyst, and turquoise-blue, while the distant 
peaks and crags lie, rose-tipped and flushing with 
renewed life, against the milky cerulean sky. Now 
the warm rays fall upon the fawn-coloured masses 
of nummulite ; then the distant forms of the sky- 
line appear almost transparent and aerial, as if 
melting into the upper vault. Turn eastward, and 
you have the flat Valley of the Indus, a luxuriant 
green level, blue-glazed by the intervening air. 
And throughout Sind you will ever see this contrast 
of the desert and the fertile land ; of Osiris sitting 
side by side with his mortal brother-foe — the ass- 
headed Set — Typhon, god of the rock. 

The charms, however, are purely atmospheric, 
and, as usual here, noon will wash all the colouring 
out of the uniform, glaring, white-hot view. We 
must be grateful for small mercies throughout these 

1 The Gazetteer has " Khirthdr ; " and the editor of " Stray- 
Feathers " (1873), " Kitar : " I follow Mr. W. T. Blanford. 



30 Sind Revisited. 



latitudes of the nearer East. Syria was a land flow- 
ing with milk and honey only in the days before 
Italy and Southern France were made by man. 
"When I went home on " sick leave," after a voyage 
round the Cape in the stout teak-built ship Eliza, 
which, despite her sixty years, deposited me safely 
at Plymouth, the pilot-boat contained an " old and 
faithful servant " from Central Asia, accompanying 
his master to the land of the pork-eater. 

" Allah, Allah ! " ejaculated AllahcKd, as he 
caught sight of the city, and the turfy hills, and the 
wooded parks, and the pretty seats round about the 
place with the breakwater ; " what manner of men 
must you Feringhis be, that leave such a Bihisht 
(paradise), and travel to such Jahims (pande- 
moniums) as ours, without manacles and the per- 
suasion of the chob (bastinado) ! " 

And note the change, with the assistance of the 
"Harbour Improvements" and its map, the work of 
Mr. Superintendent "W. H. Price. A quarter of a 
century ago we lay at anchor outside the bar till the 
pilot-boats chose to put off. A long billowy sea, 
blue tipped with white, swept directly into the 
narrow rock-girt jaw of the so-called port, which 
was more open and dangerous than the Eunostus of 
Alexandria in a.d. 1800. You rolled to such an 
extent that, if you liked the diversion, you could 
run from one side of the quarter-deck to the other, 
each time dipping your fingers in the brine. When 
disembarking sepoys, we generally expected some 
such terse report as — 



The Olden Time. 31 

" Kamji Naik drowned, Sa/b ! n 

Sometimes we had a little fun in superintending 
the disembarkation of the stout major, the stouter 
major's " lady," and the old black Ayah or Abigail, 
the stoutest of the trio. The latter would stick to 
the ladder, cling to the rope, and fearfully scan the 
insolent breakers that now bedewed her extensive 
display of leg, and then sank into a yawning abyss, 
deep in the centre of which lay her boat. Presently, 
with the aid of an impulse a tergo, she was rolled 
down into the "Batelo," as it rose quivering upon the 
crest of an angry wave. She tumbled rotunda as 
a hedgehog, if not teres, fixed her claws in the pile 
of logs and boxes, pulled the veil over her modest 
head, and renewed the usual series of outrageous 
assertions concerning the legitimacy of the boatmen 
and the general moral conduct of their feminine rela- 
tives. At times, also, one of the shore-boats, weary 
of waiting, would make a deliberate attempt to 
escape; and the marine on guard would send a bullet 
whistling through the sail, so very close to the 
sailors' heads, that the project was at once nipped 
in the bud. Or some pepper-pod of an ensign — we 
call him a " sub-lieutenant " in these days — 
threatened the boatmen with " bamboo bakhshish ; " 
whereat the little whity-browns on board would 
at once throw themselves into their quasi-natural 
element, and strike shorewards like dabchicks, with 
large frightened eyes, long brown nightgowns, and 
small brown bullet-heads glistening in the sun. 

These " Batela " appeared the crankiest of craft, 



32 Sind Revisited. 



but they were capable of going strangely well, half 
over, half under, the foaming waves. I never heard 
of a capsize. Seated partly on the gunwale, and 
partly in the drifting spray, we flew, as if teaming 
old Neptune's drag, over the watery hills and dales, 
glided beneath Manhora Fort, and, crossing the bar, 
acknowledged with a hearty " Thank goodness!" the 
satisfaction of finding ourselves in smooth water at 
last. But our troubles were not ended. When the 
water was ebbing — still the best time for entering — 
we were transferred from the larger B^telo to the 
smaller Mdchwa ; and if the latter were wanting, as 
it often was, many a tedious hour was minuted by 
in the uncomfortable, unaromatic conveyance, or 
in a disconsolate ramble among the gulls, 1 god wits 
(Limosa cegocephald), oyster- catchers (Hcematopus 
ostralegus), and turn-stones (Strepsilas interpres), 
along the monotonous desert shore. Finally, before 
the stump of pier was begun by Sir Charles, we were 
compelled to bestride the damp backs of brawny 
Sindis, or to walk with legs au naturel, and nether 
garments slung over our shoulders, through nearly 
a mile of mud and water, averaging two feet deep, 
and overlying strata of sharp shells and aquatic 
roots, which admirably performed the office of man- 
traps. 

In those days the port of Karachi had no pre- 
tensions to be called a port. The roadstead was 

1 At Karachi chiefly the Larus Occidentalis, and on the Sind 
Lakes Larus Argentatus. The terns are of eight species, including 
the large river-tern (Sterna Aurantia). 



Ambitious Kardchi. 33 

dangerously exposed, and the " Town Creek/' now 
the "New Channel," which ran up to the settlement, 
was too shallow to admit anything but flat-bottomed 
steamers and native craft. The carcases of the larger 
vessels were stranded upon its mud banks, and, 
moored in its centre, you saw some twenty or thirty 
GhuralDS {Grabs) from Maskat, Baghlahs from the 
Persian Gulf, Kotiyahs from Kachh, and Pattimars 
and Batelas from the Konkan and Bombay. As, 
however, the whole of the coast, including that of 
Mekran, the land of the Mdhi-KKdrdn or Ichthy- 
ophagi, is notably deficient in harbours ; and as this, 
though bad, is palpably the best, it began, imme- 
diately after the Conquest, to thrive upon the ruin 
of its maritime neighbours. 

Presently Karachi developed pretensions of her 
own; and she detected in her position, the point 
nearest to Europe, a pride of place, a virtue, a 
natural value which, improved by Art, would soon 
raise her high above obsolete and rococo Calcutta, 
Madras, and Bombay. Even as the latter almost 
depopulated Goa, which, in her day, served the 
same trick to Surat, so shall Karachi, said the 
Karachi-ites, become the port of Western India. 
This, however, will be true only when the Euphrates 
Valley Bailway reaches the shores of Sind. It may 
come sooner than you expect, Mr. John Bull. At 
present your chief steward grudges a guarantee of 
five per cent, for a joint affair— not a private specu- 
lation as at home, nor a Government enterprise as in 
your outlying properties generally— he does not see 
vol. i. 3 



34 Sind Revisited. 



the necessity of the line ; and he shrewdly suspects 
that the object is not commercial, but political. 
However, the first " shake " in India, or in the 
outer Orient, will show him that, if your Eastern 
estate wants anything, it wants the Euphrates 
Valley Eailway, almost as much as does your 
Western the conscription, or carrying out the militia 
law. 

Accordingly, the expenditure of public money, 
under the Conqueror of Sind, became ultra-liberal ; 
an army of 20,000 men was collected at Karachi, 
and, as the niggard land provides scarcely sufficient 
grain to support its scanty population, the import 
trade became brisk and regular, and even the export 
could not help improving. It was then resolved 
that Karachi should have all the advantages re- 
quired by her strong young constitution. Accord- 
ingly, a stone pier was designed to run from the 
native town half-way down the creek. The work 
had its 'difficulties ; at first it sank nearly as fast as 
it could be built. But Patience and Perseverance, 
they say, "won a wife for his Keverence." It is 
now the " Napier Mole Road," or " Causeway," 
connecting Kyamdri Island, that long yellow line 
of sandbank, east of the harbour, with the white 
and green expanse which we call terra Jirma. 
Estimates were ordered to show what expense 
would attend blowing up the bar. This ugly fea- 
ture was a core of rock, garnished with fine sand 
heaped up by the south-west monsoon as it met 
the regular outpour of the Chini backwater, com- 



The Modern Harbour. 35 

monly called " Cliinna Creek," and at times of the 
Liyari or Malyari Fiumara winding north of the 
town. Extensive fieldworks and fortifications, in- 
tended to form a depot for the material of war, 
were made to rise from the barren plain. Thus the 
harbour- improvements were begun by the busy 
brain of eagle-eyed Sir Charles Napier, who claims 
the glory of inventing Karachi, even as Alexander 
immortalized his name by perhaps his greatest 
exploit, the choice of Alexandria as the port-capital 
of the Levantine world. 

And now observe the change. We will begin 
with Manh6ra, the conglomerate -capped, quoin- 
shaped rock of warm yellow sandstone, rising ninety 
feet above sea level. It is nearly a mile in length 
from north-west to south-east, and it shelves to- 
wards the shore till it sinks into sand and muddy 
swamp, overgrown by vegetation and overflowed by 
every high tide. Upon the summit of this feature, 
which reminds me of Gwddir (Jawdxlur) and Maskat, 
rises the poor old fort whose tale has been told. Now 
it is carefully whitewashed, and capped with a 
dwelling-house ; one bastion bears the Fanal, a poor 
catoptric affair which, though 119 feet high, and 
officially commanding a range of seventeen miles, is 
often invisible beyond six. From the hill-base 
projects to sou th-and-by- east a strip of breakwater 
some 500 yards long : it is built of concrete blocks, 
not laid " higgledy-piggledy," as at Port Sa'id, 
but ranged in order by a " Triton," or lifting 
engine, and tipped with a lamp-post, the lamp 



36 Sind Revisited. 



looking from afar much like a perched crow. Very 
mean and poor, after the Egypto -European works 
at Alexandria and Port Sa'id; but meanness is 
the characteristic of the magnificence of Ind and 
Sind. At any rate the pier is useful : once within 
its embrace you glide through water smooth as a 
mill-pond, and the south-west monsoon is no longer 
at liberty annually to repair the bar. Two dredges 
and a half are still working in the Manhora or 
outer port, and a line of white buoys shows the 
channel to the inner basin. 

On the right is the East pier, the head of 
" Kyamari Groyne," generally called " the training 
Groyne," which continues the " Napier Mole Road." 
The two walls form an entrance-channel 500 yards 
broad, 900 yards long, and now 28, or officially 
25, feet deep. Here is the Manhora harbour, 
where the largest merchantmen and most of the 
steamers lie. You will remember that the first 
direct ship from London, the Duke of Argyll (800 
tons), made Karachi in October, 1852 ; the year of 
grace 1876 already shows us fourteen, and expects 
some twenty sail. On the left we see the white- 
washed bungalows of the telegraph employes and 
the three pale-faces constituting the pilot-corps ; 
whilst above them, on the slopes of Manhora Cliff, 
rise " Saint Paul's," a stiff little English church, with 
its red-tiled roof and pierced wall for belfry, and a 
Hindu Dewul with pyramid domes, which does not 
so much offend the eye. Nothing is more remarkable 
in Sind, where, generally, the dead are the better 



Mr. Price. 37 

lodged, than the extent of " native " burial-ground. 
Even this neck of land, which tails off the Manhora 
quoin, is covered with flat-topped Sunni graves, 
whose sandstone-slabs bear Arabic sentences in the 
Suls and Ruba' characters. The jackal and the 
utilitarian have made sad work of them, despite 
the annual fair and the venerable presence of a Pir, 
saint or santon. This also is the dwelling-place of 
Mr. W. H. Price, who has most worthily continued 
the work laid down by the late Mr. James Walker, 
and begun by Mr. W. Parkes. Unfortunately his 
health has suffered severely from overwork and 
exposure. 

I have no intention, sir, of entering into the 
history of these harbour-improvements, the first 
undertaken in India, and the most successful of their 
kind, despite the opposition of obstructive Colonel 
Tremenheere. Mr. Price's " Memoir," maugre its 
official and arithmetical form, is an eminently 
readable paper, showing how the severest difficul- 
ties were met and mastered with hardly a single 
hitch. The leading idea was to make the creek- 
scour clean, drain, and deepen the channel. With 
this view the notch was opened in the " Napier 
Mole Koad," and the Chini backwater was dammed 
and diverted into the general outpour. There were, 
and there are still, some misgivings about the 
shoals of tenacious black mud, a peat of mangrove 
formation, deposited in parts of the port ; but the 
engineers declare that it will disappear, and their 
past success entitles them to our reliance for the 



38 Sind Revisited. 



future. It has a malignant look, that moist and 
poisonous black coat ; it is a shirt of Nessus, which 
" seems to exhale the essence of all the evil things 
of the earth and of the waters below the earth." 

This year, on dit, a liberal sum has been 
granted to push on the works; and, as you see, 
much remains to be done. The breakwater is almost 
below water-level, and some exceptional storm 
may break it or even carry it bodily away. The 
lighthouse calls for more light. There is no room 
in the harbour to wedge the fleet of ships which 
will be wanted for the passenger-traffic, and which 
are wanted for the growing grain-trade. For 
Karachi is now, like Odessa, Bombay, and Mel- 
bourne, a " farinaceous city ; " she exports wheat 
and other cereals from Bahawalpur and the upper 
Indus Valley: when she shall be subjected to the 
Panj^b, which will prefer her to Calcutta and 
Bombay, we may expect to see her attain her full 
development, and stand in readiness for the 
Euphrates Valley Kailway. 

Listen to what I wrote as early as 1851 con- 
cerning Karachi Bay, the western boundary of 
India, as that of Bengal is its eastern : " Kur- 
rachee " — so we spelt it in those days, after the 
" ultimatum " of that irrepressible Scot, Dr. Gilchrist 
— " wants many an improvement, which perhaps 
old Time, the great Progressionist, has in store for 
it. To Him we look for the clearing of the harbour, 
the drainage of the dirty backwater, and the proper 
management of the tidal incursions. He may 



The Work of Time. 39 

please to remove the mountains of old rubbish 
which surround and are scattered through the 
native town ; eventually He may clear away the 
crumbling hovels which received us at the head of 
the Custom House " Bunder," and occupy the space 
with an erection somewhat more dignified. Possibly 
He will be induced to see the pier properly finished, 
to macadamize the road that leads to camp, to [* derive 
from the Indus a large canal which, equally adapted 
for navigation and irrigation, would fertilize every 
mile of the barren and hopeless-looking waste to the 
north-west ; to] superintend the growth of a shady 
avenue or two, and to disperse about the environs a 
few large trees, which may break the force of the 
fierce sea-wind, attract a little rain, and create such 
a :hing as shade. [Thus alone can Sind become 
what the native rhapsodist termed her, not in 
bitter irony, Rashk o raghbat-i-haft Bihisht, the 
envy and jealousy of the Seven Heavens.] We trust 
implicitly in Time. Withal we wish that those w T ho 
haye the power of seizing Him by the forelock 
would show a little more of the w T ill to do so. The 
old gentleman wears a fashionable wig, curly 
enough in front, but close-cut behind as a poodle's 
back ; and we, His playthings, are always making 
darts at the wrong side." Confess, sir, that this is 
not a bad forecast. 

But we are still distant from our destination, 
and kind Captain Morris offers us his gig. Why 

1 The sentences in brackets are later additions. 



40 Sind Revisited. 



the B. I. S. N. Co.'s steamers should lie in the 
lower harbour, three miles and a half from the 
" native jetty," no one can say ; the principal effect 
is to add four annas to the carriage of a parcel. 
We row up the land-locked channel, passing on 
our left the workmen's village in "BaM Island," 
which, a quarter of a century ago, was a naked 
sand-patch ; and by the bright green mangroves we 
trace the yellow sandy mouths of the network of 
creeks, known only to those who shoot " king- 
curlews." At the Kyamari, or upper harbour, we 
find red buoys intended for her Majesty's cruiseis, 
and a large vessel disembarking what the perfume 
proclaims to be creosotized railway-sleepers. Hard 
on the right, three wooden piers project from the 
east end of Kyamari Island : the Commissariat, 
the Custom House, and the Railway or passenger 
jetties, all communicating more or less directly with 
the iron road which sweeps behind them. A 
coloured Karachi-ite "Dubash," who speaks English, 
takes us in hand civilly but firmly; we enter an 
article called by courtesy a carriage, drawn by two 
lean garrons and tooled by a " Sicli," a Zanzibar 
negro, probably a descendant of emancipated slaves ; 
and black Jehu has as much feeling for his beasts 
as if he were fresh-driven from the forests of 
Unyamwezi. And now let us be en route as soon 
as bag and baggage can be stowed away. 

You do not regret leaving Kyamari ; whilst the 
air at sea is brisk and cool, this place swelters with 
eternal heat. We drive furiously— such is "the 



To Camp. 41 

general habit of the sable Automedon — along the 
two miles of macadam, justly called the " Napier 
Mole Koad; " and we remark an inscribed memorial- 
obelisk posted where the last salute was fired, when 
the Conqueror last touched his own conquest (Oct. 1, 
1847). We cross, by a fine screw-pile bridge with 
iron railing, the " notch," or tidal opening, opened 
in the Napier embankment when the damming of 
the Chini backwater was determined upon ; and 
we leave to the left the large " native jetty," 
crowded with "hackery" carts. Beyond it, where the 
Liyari Fiumara debouches, is a grand perspective of 
swamped boats, mud, and logs. 

The Custom House is a handsome building with 
five arches a cheval upon the road, and the Patte- 
wala, who here represents the search- officer, con- 
descends, after a few words of explanation, to let us 
pass with unopened boxes. By way of contrast with 
it we have a white-domed and latticed tomb, and a 
mosque which has survived the destruction of its kind. 

Here we enter the " McLeod Koad," a graceful 
memorial to that ardent Karachi-ite, my old friend 
John, deputy collector of customs, who died of a 
trip to Hinglaj in December, 1853. The style of 
the well-tiled dwelling-houses built by Europeans 
pleases us as much as their material does the 
reverse. All are faced, roughly speaking, north and 
south, the latter direction being seawards, a benefit 
which Bombay cannot enjoy ; in the upper story 
they have deep and shady verandahs, and some of 
these retreats are adorned with round arches and 



42 Sind Revisited. 



monolithic pillars. On the other hand, the material 
is a loose and half-formed sandstone from the 
quarries near Ghisri, which a late traveller calls 
" Ghuznee " Bandar. The warm, sunny colour dis- 
dains glaring whitewash, or the ugly bluewash and 
other tints affected by the Goanese, but the surface 
seems to melt away in the damp sea-breeze, and 
the crumbling facades become painfully shabby 
after a short course of years. Perhaps storing it 
till the quarry-water has evaporated, might do some 
good. Passing on the right a large and spacious 
building, the court-house, of old the Bombay Bank, 
we turn into the office of the B. I. S. N. line. We 
inspect the winnowing machines, and we are lucky 
enough to receive from Mr. W. Thorburn a hos- 
pitable invitation to take up our quarters at his 
comfortable house in camp. 

We carry, it is true, introductory letters for a 
pair of young employes, but they will not be of 
much use — economy and " privilege leave " are both 
terribly adverse to the guest-right. One gentleman 
will not even return your cards before your de- 
parture from the province ; the other will send you, 
after a delay of six hours, some such production 
as this, marked outside, "On Her Majesty's 
Service " : — 

"Dear Mr. Bull, 

" I have just received Brown's letter, and 
regret that my father expects the house to be so 
full to-day, owing to the Joneses arriving from 



Hospitality. 43 



Hyderabad and the Kobinson's (sic) from Manora, 
that he cannot have the pleasure of inviting you to 
stay in Luckingham House during your stay in 
Kurrachee. 

"Please let me know if I can be of any use 
to you, and where you are thinking of residing in 
Kurrachee. 

" Yours very truly, 
(Signed) " A. B. Pincher." 

There is, I may tell you, a neat little club, but 
it lacks chambers. Karachi cannot yet boast of 
an hotel ; nor will she before she belongs to the 
Panjab. In fact, without Mr. Thorburn's kindness, 
you would have lodged at the travellers' bungalow — 
a refuge for the wholly destitute of friends. The 
establishment is neat and tolerably well kept by 

an Italian, Signor N ; but the charges are 

abnormally extortionate, even for the messmen of 
travellers' bungalows in general, and the muni- 
cipality would do well to abate this nuisance. 

Before making camp, let us at once visit the 
native town. Karachi, you must know, has been 
identified by some pakeogeographers, since the days 
of Dalrymple's " Crotchey " or " Caranjee " (1795), 
with Crocala or Krokala, the island whence Nearchus 
sailed for Mekrd-n and Persia, and some old maps 
inscribe it " Alexandri Portus." The principal 
reason seems to be that it stands in a department 
still called Krakraleh or Karkalla. There are two 
objections to this theory. Karachi was built and 



44 Sind Revisited. 



walled round only about a century and a half ago 
by Mai Muradi, the wife of a Jokiya chief ; before 
that time the fishermen lived on board their boats. 1 
Fort Manhora dates from only a.d. 1797. Secondly, 
no ruins of any antiquity have been found in, near, 
or about it. On the other hand, 2000 years or so 
give time and enough for a total change of site, or 
for burying fathoms deep the old remnants. 2 

You observe the lines of oyster shells which 
define the shore, and the baskets of live mollusks 
offered to us at every corner. Those, sir, are the 
produce of our once celebrated pearl-fishery. They 
are considerably larger than your natives — do you 
remember them in these hard times ? — and their 
contents are not quite so well-flavoured. They also 
afforded a very barbaric Margarita, 3 of dingy hue, 
somewhat larger than a pin s head. This source of 
revenue, such as it was, has been long ago dried 
up, not by the " ignorance and folly of the Amirs," 
but by the stolidity of certain local officials, suc- 

1 The Gazetteer (sub voce) gives a long account of the foundation 
of Karachi, but all comes from a suspected source. 

2 1 am not aware that the country about the lower Eastern 
Nard, and its debouchure, the Kori Creek, has yet been carefully 
examined by any antiquary. The best maps show the one large 
and two small islands, which may represent Crocala and Bfbakta 
(Arrian), the latter called Bibraga by Pliny and Biblus by Philos- 
tratus. But it is more than probable that the whole sea-front has 
completely changed within the last few centuries. Still, it is within 
this shore that we must look for Barbarei, Pdtala (Pattala or Pattali), 
Susicana, Bonis, Kolaka, the Naustathmus Nearchi (near Lowry 
Bandar?), Stoura, Kaumara (which has a fanciful likeness to 
Kyamari), Koreatis, and other classical posts. 

3 Arrian expressly tells us that M ap ya P ir V s is an Eastern word, and 
we find it in the Arabic and Persian " Murwand," a pearl. 



Karachi Town. 45 



cessors to that well-abused dynasty, and by the 
rapacity of certain black servants of a white 
house which contracted for the fisheries, and which 
mercilessly fished up every shell it could find. You 
bear in mind what a similar want of a " close 
season " has done nearer home. 

Karachi town, when I first became acquainted 
with it, was much like the Alexandria of a century 
and a half ago : a few tenements of stone and lime 
emerging from a mass of low hovels, mat and mud, 
and of tall mud houses with windowless mud walls, 
flat mud roofs, and many Bad-girs or mud ven- 
tilators, surrounded by a tumble-down curtain -cum- 
bastions of mud, built upon a humble platform of 
mud-covered rock. The mud (Kahgil), hereabouts 
used as adobe or sun-dried brick, and the plaster 
that binds it, are river-clay (silt or warp) thrown 
into a pit, puddled with water, trodden till 
ready for use, and mixed for the outer coating with 
finely chopped straw. This chaff acts as hair in 
English mortar : without it, as the Children of 
Israel learnt, the bricks would crumble to pieces in 
the shortest possible time ; and throughout Sind, 
perhaps I may say Central Asia, this morose-looking 
mud is the favourite material, because it keeps out 
heat and cold. Such was the Fort or official town. 
Formerly it fined off into straggling suburbs of 
" Jhompris," booths of tamarisk branches and 
thorns, and it extended from both banks of the 
Liyari Fiumara northwards, to the Creek-head at 
the south. On approaching it, three organs were 



46 Sind Revisited. 



affected, far more powerfully, however, than plea- 
santly, viz., the Ear, the Nose, and the Eye. The 
former was struck by the tomtoming and squeaking 
of native music ; by the roaring, bawling, criard 
voices of the people ; by the barkings and brayings 
of stranger-hating curs, and by the screams of 
hungry gulls fighting over scraps of tainted fish. 
The drainage, if you could so call it, was managed 
by evaporation : every one threw before his dwell- 
ing what was not wanted inside, whilst dogs, kites, 
and crows were the only scavengers ; and this odour 
of carrion was varied, as we approached the b&zars, 
by a close, faint, dead smell of drugs and spices, 
such as might be supposed to proceed from a newly 
made " Osiris/' 

The eye again noted a people different from 
their Indian neighbours. Their characteristic is a 
peculiar blending of the pure Iranian form and tint 
with those of the southern Aryans. Their features 
are regular ; their hair, unlike the lank Turanian 
locks of the great Peninsula, though coarse, is 
magnificent in colour and quantity ; the beard is 
thick, glossy, and curling ; and the figure is manly 
and well-developed. You knew the Moslems by 
their hirsute chins, by their slipperless feet, by 
their long calico shirts, and by a pair of indigo-dyed 
drawers extending from waist to knee. They also 
wore the Sindi hat, now waxing rare ; it was an in- 
verted " tile," with a brocaded cylinder and a red 
upper brim : the latter in the few survivors seems 
to grow wider and wider every year, and now it 



Kardchi Hats. 47 



threatens to cut out the Quaker's broad-brim ; — 
that small boy's " Sirdiki topi" must measure 
nearly eleven inches across. Hindus were distin- 
guished by fairness, or rather yellowness, of com- 
plexion, a dab of vermilion or sandal- wood between 
the eyebrows, and the thread of the twice-born 
hung over the left shoulder and knotted against 
the right side. The descendants, male and female, 
of African slaves abounded : we met them every- 
where with huge water-skins on their brawny 
backs, or carrying burdens fit only for buffaloes. 
The women of the Mohand (fishing caste) were 
habited in sheets, which covered the head ; in the 
"Gaj," or tight embroidered bodice ; in red skirts, 
and in long pantaloons of coloured cotten tightened 
round the ankle. This characteristic race, whose 
language would make Billingsgate blush, seldom 
wore veils in the streets, modesty not being one of 
their predilections ; nor were they at all particular 
about volunteering opinions concerning your per- 
sonal appearance, which freedom in the East, you 
must know, is strange. 

And now Karachi, after growing from 6000 to 
45,000 souls, has become, externally at least, mighty 
respectable and dull. The straggling suburbs have 
been removed, and the general shape is a broad 
arrow-head pointing northwards, and striking the 
Fiumara, or Sukhi Naddi (dry river), as the Hindis 
call it. 1 The material is still the old, dull-grey 

1 " Hindu " is used for Pagan, and " Hindi " for Moslem ; and 
"bazar" is distinguished from " Bazaar." 



48 Sind Revisited. 



mud, ou foundations of stone ; but it is lighted up 
and picked out with more chunam and whitewash. 
The dark, narrow alleys have been improved off, 
except in the bazars ; the streets are wide, open, 
and glaring; each has its name and its pair of 
trottoirs, whilst the quasi- civilized reverUre con- 
trasts with the whitewashed and beflagged tombs of 
various Pirs, or holy men, still encumbering the 
thoroughfares. There is a general Bombay look 
about the place, the result of deep eaves supported 
by corbelled posts ; of a grand Hindu establishment 
or two ; of the new market-place, and of large 
school and native police stations. And it will 
improve still more, under the blessing of Agni 
Devta, the Fire-god ; only yesterday, as we may see 
by the smoking black heaps, a quarter of the town, 
to the right of the Liydri, was happily improved off. 
Striking from the river-bank by "Ali Akbar 
Street " towards the cantonment, we pass the new 
Hindu Dewal, a whitewashed pyramid with its 
usual broken outlines ; the Church mission-house, 
school, and church with its lancet windows ; the 
Government school, with its tall clock-tower ; and the 
new DharmsaM, built by a native, with its couple 
of onion domes, evident imitations of a Sindi tomb. 
To the right of the Bandar Eoad, which connects 
the port with the " bush," runs " Gharikata Eoad/' 
leading to the large iron-foundry and engineering 
works of the energetic Mr. Dawvid Mackenzie, who 
built the Napier barracks, and who is building the 
State Railway. Here, too, are the telegraph estab- 



To Camp. 49 

lishment, denoted by a huge signal-staff, and the 
post-office, which might profitably be on a much 
larger scale. We then pass attempts at gardens, 
and thin plantations of cocoa-nuts, no longer sur- 
rounded by dwarf and broken walls of puddle. That 
lofty clump to the right shelters some houses in- 
habited by holy characters ; and a riveted tank, full 
during the rains, distinguishes the Earn Bagh, or 
garden of Kdma Chandra, who must not be con- 
founded with Parashu Kama, or Kama of the 
battle-axe, living in B.C. 1176 (V). 1 The mighty hero 
and demi-god named after the moon here passed 
a night, some few million years ago, a term by us 
reduced to B.C. 961(?), when he and his pretty wife 
Sita were, like ourselves, merrily gipsying about 
the Unhappy Valley towards holy Hinglaj. There 
are three other tanks, which drain the adjacent lands 

1 Lieutenant-Colonel Sleeman ("Rambles and Recollections ") 
proposes the following crucial dates : — 

Parashu Rama born B.C. 1176. 

Rama Chandra ... ... ... ,, 961. 

Yudhishthira ... ... ... ,, 575. 

Krishna born August 7, a.d. 600. 

I may briefly state my conviction that the antiquity of Hindu 
history advocated by Sanskritists is a mere delusion. The Greek 
travellers after Alexander's day, though mentioning letters and 
writing, do not allude to Indian literature. The earliest inscrip- 
tions date from King Asoka, the grandson of Chandragupta (Sand- 
racottus), B.C. 275-250. The earliest cave-characters are, according 
to the late Dr. John Wilson, of Bombay, derived from a com- 
bination of the Phoenician and Greek alphabets ; and writing was 
probably long confined to the " Brachmanes," a particular tribe. 
The Yugas and eras were astronomical ; the heroes, like the 
Ramas, were legends of ancient race-struggles ; and the claim to 
fabulous antiquity is simply that of every barbarous race. 

VOL. I. 4 



50 Sind Revisited. 



after heavy showers ; and the sooner they are clothed 
with stone, and subjected to European superinten- 
dence, the less we shall suffer from the excessive 
and pernicious damp of Karachi. 

On the left are the Eanchor lines, the dwelling- 
place of characters quite the reverse of those tenant- 
ing holy Kdm-Bagh and missionary Christ Church. 
We then strike the oldest cemetery, which in the 
unhealthy days of yore numbered its holocaust of 
victims. That prim building, not unlike a church, is 
the Small Cause Court, and the successful rascality 
which goes on within its walls suggests a modifica- 
tion of a certain proverb anent honesty. Then we 
come to the Travellers' Bungalow, advertizing itself 
in large letters : there are two detached cottages 
to the south, and to the north a big block, with an 
attached billiard-room. We have now nothing to 
do beyond following " Kacheri (Cutchery) Koad," 
and a mile of exceedingly dusty and disagreeable 
highway will conclude our total of five, and land 
us at our destination — camp. 



( 51 ) 



CHAPTER III. 

THE CANTONMENT, KARACHI, AND ITS " HUMOURS " — 
THE ANGLO-INDIAN ARMY " ROTTEN FROM HEAD 
TO FOOT " — SOCIETY AND POLITICS. 

Your first night in Sind, Mr. Bull — how did you 
like it ? This is early November, the opening of 
the cold season : what can Murray's Handbook 
mean by saying, " He [the traveller] will have to 
encounter, except from the 1st of December to the 
1st of March, intense heat"? I have wandered 
about every part of the Unhappy Valley, espe- 
cially its western frontier, the Baluch Hills, 1 and 
I have everywhere found that the cool season 
begins with October, and does not end till April 
is well on. But my able friend, the author of 
"Dry Leaves from Young Egypt," is adverse to 
the old Conqueror ; at least so I read (p. 472) : " Sir 
C. Napier, by a series of aggressive measures, forced 

1 " It does not appear that he (Capt. Burton) had any oppor- 
tunities of being acquainted with the Biluchis of the Hills " (p. 473, 
1859). My old and valued chief, Gen. Walter Scott, B.E., who 
died before receiving my last letter, could have told another tale. 



52 Sind Revisited. 



the Amirs of Haidarabad to open resistance ; and, 
having defeated them at the battle of Miyanf, on 
the 17th of February, 1843, and again on the 
24 th of March, at Dappa or Dabba on the Phuleli, 
annexed the whole country." Despite the " Peccavi" 
motto proposed by Mr. Punch for the Devil's 
Brother, the " aggressive measures " in question 
were begun by the late Sir James Outram, greatly 
to whose disgust they were carried out by Sir 
Charles Napier. 

The secret history of the whole transaction will, 
I hope, presently appear in the autobiography of my 
old friend, Mirza* Ali Akbar Khan Bahadur, who has 
undertaken his memoirs at my special request. He 
was on field service from the march into Afghan- 
istan (1838) to the reduction of Sind (1843), and 
for nine years he served his employers with honour 
and honesty. No sooner, however, had Sir Charles 
left the country than a cruel blow was struck at 
his favourite Munshi (secretary), apparently with 
the object of pleasing the now defunct Court of 
Directors and of annoying the veteran, who resented 
the manoeuvre strongly. A charge was preferred 
against him : fictions, such as keeping racers, 
which were wholly imaginary, and a magnificent 
house, which sold, to my certain knowledge, for 
J660, were pushed forward in official documents ; 
the accused, whom Sir Charles Napier called an 
"excellent public servant," and of whom he ever 
spoke in the very highest terms, was characterized 
as " an unscrupulous though clever and agreeable 



Ali Akbar. 53 



rogue." * Briefly, the Mirza was removed from the 
service, and his pension was refused — an injury 
added to insult. The deed was done in 1847, yet 
even now, methinks, it is not too late to make 
amends for it. The East India Office cannot, of 



1 From his Excellency Sir C. J. Napier, K.C.B., to the Eight 
Hon. the Governor-General of India in Council. 

" Kurrachee, 14th September, 1847. 

"My Lord, 

" I have the honour to enclose to your Lordship the 
memorial of my Moonshee, Ali Akbar Khan Bahadoor, together 
with a copy of a letter written to Lieutenant-Colonel Outram, my 
predecessor as Political Agent in Sind. 

" From the moment of my arrival I found the Moonshee all 
that Lieutenant-Colonel Outram's letter says of him. I have no 
hesitation in saying that, for the five years during which I have 
commanded in Sind, Ali Akbar has been of the greatest service, 
and I feel under very great obligations to this excellent public 
servant, in whom I have very great confidence, and repeat 
Lieutenant-Colonel Outram's words, ' It is with truth, and in mere 
justice, that I declare I never have witnessed services, by any 
native Indian, more zealous, more able, or more honest than such 
as Ali Akbar has rendered to Government under me for five years. ' 
He has been attacked by a party inimical to me, and merely, 
I believe, because he is my Moonshee. I have not taken his part. 
I left him to defend himself, and their ill-natured attacks have 
died a natural death. I now feel it to be my duty to recommend 
this able and faithful public servant to your Lordship in Council? 
and I hope that his petition may be granted, to be allowed to 
retire from the service on two hundred rupees a month, this being 
half his present pay. 

" If his length of public services be short, it will be recollected 
that it has been, through the difficulties and dangers of the Afghan 
and Sind wars, a time of incessant exertion, including the dangers of 
two general actions, in which he conducted himself bravely. If the 
prayer of Ali Akbar's memorial be granted, I can assure your 
Lordship in Council that few things would be more grateful to me. 

" I have, &c, 
(Signed) "C. Napier, 

" Lieut.-General, Governor of Sind." 



54 Sind Revisited. 



course, enter into a question which was decided 
thirty years ago, but it could find some Govern- 
ment appointment to do away with the stigma so 
unjustly cast upon, and to cheer the declining years 
of, a good and faithful employe, " an excellent public 

servant.'' 1 

In later April, Mr. John Bull, I should have 
your couch placed in the verandah ; secured, how- 
ever, from the land and sea breezes, which are liable 
to cause " chills : " you never could have endured 
the 90° F. heat of an inner room. Now I come 
to awake you at 4.30 a.m., and take you to con- 
stitutionalize a little before the sun appears. The 
great secret of health in this arid part of the East 
lies, believe me, in the daily habit of a long walk, 
not a lazy canter, during the morning-fresh. The 
sensible man is followed, at such times, by his 
horse and its keeper ; and, when tired, he mounts 
and gallops back to quarters. Nothing more fatal, 
to soldiers at least, than the systematic avoidance 
of light which prevailed, for instance, in the Bengal 
army. 'Officers and men whose pale and etiolated 

1 Colonel A. B. Rathborne, an old Sindian, has just published the 
following weighty words : " There is a saying attributed, I believe, 
to the great Mahomedan Prophet, that ' an hour of justice is worth 
a life of prayer.' It is a maxim which, I am sorry to say, our 
Government in India too often violates in the pursuit of what it 
deems policy ; not remembering that no object ought to be para- 
mount in the statesman's eyes to that, not only of doing justice 
to the best of his ability, but also of remedying any act of past 
injustice, no matter at what cost to his own feelings, or to the 
feelings of those serving under him, if it only be made clear to 
him that injustice has been done." — " The True Line of Defence 
for India." London : East India Association, Westminster. 



About Camp. 55 

skins struck the eye at once, suddenly sent upon a 
campaign where severe exposure is inevitable, sank 
under the baptism of fire — sunstroke and other 
horrors. The more you know of the Greater Light 
the more, I grant, you will and should respect it ; 
but this only means that you should take due 
precautions. Mr. E. B. Eastwick tells us, " An 
English jockey-cap, with a muslin turban twisted 
round it " — he might have added a flap to defend 
the carotid arteries, and a Kamar-band or shawl 
to guard the pit of the stomach — " and wetted 
occasionally, will be the best defence against the 
frightful heat of Sindh." Personally, I hold to the 
white umbrella, which the disciples of General John 
Jacob (of whom more presently) consider " effemi- 
nate." It must be owned, however, that on horse- 
back, especially when riding fast, it is inconvenient 
as well as unsightly. In the evening you can repeat 
your ride, or play golf, badminton, the almost 
obsolete croquet and tennis, or the still favourite 
rackets and polo. 

We can now, if you please, perambulate the 
camp, and devote the evening and the morrow to 
a few excursions in the immediate neighbourhood of 
Karachi. 

Karachi is still the capital village of the local 
government, and the head-quarters of the European 
regiment. Under the Conquistador the camp usually 
numbered about 5000 to 8000 men, both colours 
and all arms included. This strong force has been 
greatly reduced. The "boss" is now a brigadier- 



56 Sind Revisited. 



general, commanding the station (where he resides) 
and the Sind district, no longer a division : it may, 
however, recover its honours when annexed to the 
Panjab. He has no adjutant -general ; only a 
brigade-major and a quartermaster-general. The 
single white corps is the 56th, and the "Pompa- 
dours " detach two companies to Haydarabad. Here 
we have no cavalry. Three corps of the Sind Horse 
(about 1480 sabres) are stationed at Jacobabad, 
their head-quarters ; they also man all the adjoin- 
ing outposts. The arms are carbine and sword ; 
the uniform is almost that of the Cossack, the old 
Crimean Bashi-Buzuks, and the irregular cavalry in 
general : green tunics and overalls ; turban, riding 
boots, and black belts. The native infantry at 
Karachi is now the 2nd Beloch Eegiment (29th 
Bombay Native Infantry). They wear light serge 
blouses in working costume, and green tunics with 
red facings for full dress ; loose blue " Pagris ; " 
madder-stained knickerbockers — "cherubim shorts" 
are excellent for wear — and white, which should 
be brown, gaiters covering blucher boots. Their 
weapons are those of the Sepoy line generally. At 
JacoMbdd, on the north-western frontier, are also 
Jacob's Eifles (30th Eegiment Bombay Native 
Infantry), averaging some 700 men armed with 
Sniders, and habited in Khdki, or drab-coloured 
drill. Haydardbdd, besides its two white com- 
panies, is garrisoned by the 1st Beloch Eegiment 
(27th Bombay Native Infantry), known by its looser 
turbans. 



Sind Army. 57 

The artillery of the Sind district is now com- 
manded by a lieutenant-colonel, residing at head- 
quarters. Under him are two field batteries of white 
troops ; one stationed here, the other at HaydaraMd. 
Finally, at Jacobabad there is a mountain train, about 
150 men, with two mortars and as many howitzers 
(all 4 J inches), which are to be exchanged for steel 
breechloaders weighing 200 pounds, and drawn by 
the sure-footed mule. A move has lately been made 
in the right direction as regards the " gunners," and 
presidential jealousies have been abated by appoint- 
ing a Director- General of Ordnance for all India. 
Still, the mountain -train is left almost inefficient, the 
complaint of universal India ; fourteen mules are 
short, and the commanding officer, Captain Young, 
an officer of twelve years' experience in Sind, 
" passed " also in the native languages, could hardly 
take the field in full force without great delay. 

Thus, you see, Mr. Bull, Sind has utterly 
" eliminated " the Sepoy, whilst India has reduced 
her Sepoy army to a mere absurdity. The claims 
of ecomony, the delusive prospect of peace, and 
last, not least, the loud persistent voice of Prophet 
and Acting- Commissioner, General John Jacob, and 
his " silahdar system," prevailed against the old 
organization and common sense. He was in many 
ways a remarkable man, endowed with that calm 
and perfect confidence in himself which founds 
" schools," and which propagates faiths. Accustomed 
to base the strongest views, the headstrongest 
opinions, upon a limited experience of facts, he 



58 Sind Revisited. 



was an imposing figure as long as he remained in 
obscurity. But, unfortunately, one of his disciples 
and most ardent admirers, Captain (now Sir Lewis) 
Pelly, published, shortly after his death, an octavo 
containing the "Views and Opinions of General 
John Jacob," 1 and enabled the world to take the 
measure of the man. 

General John Jacob's devotion to his own idea 
has left a fatal legacy, not only to Sind, but to the 
whole of India. Sir Charles Napier, a soldier worth 
a hundred of him, had steadily advocated increasing, 
with regiments on service, the number of " Sepoy 
officers" — then six captains, twelve lieutenants, and 
four ensigns. The Conqueror of Sind protested that 
the " Eegulars " were not regular enough, the best 
men being picked out for staff and detached ap- 
pointments. The " butcher's bill " of every battle, 
I may tell you, gives nearly double the number of 
casualties among the " black officers," as we were 
called ; and at Miyani we were six deaths to one 
" white officer." The reason is obvious ; the " pale- 
faces " must lead their companies, wings, and corps, 
otherwise the natives, commissioned, non-commis- 
sioned, and privates, will not advance in the teeth 
of too hot a fire. We are already made sufficiently 
conspicuous by the colour of our skins and by the 
cut of our uniforms, while the enemy is always 
sharp enough to aim at "picking" us "off." 

General John Jacob proposed, in opposition to 
the Conqueror of Sind, to supplant the Kegular 

1 Smith, Taylor, and Co., Bombay, 1858. 



Indian Army Ruined. 59 

system by the Irregular, which means diminishing 
the number of Englishmen. Having the pick and 
choice of the Indian army at his disposal, he suc- 
ceeded in fairly drilling and disciplining his Sind 
Horse ; argal, as the grave-digger said, he resolved 
that the Sind Horse should become a model and a 
pattern to the whole world. He honestly puffed 
his progeny on all occasions, even when it least 
deserved praise. During our four months' raid on 
Southern Persia, the Sind Horse was pronounced by 
all the cavalrymen present to be the last in point 
of merit ; the same was the case in Abyssinia ; and 
during the Mutiny many of his men were found 
among the " Pandis." Yet he puffed and preached 
and wrote with such vigour that the military 
authorities, worn out by his persistency, and find- 
ing that the fatal measure would save money, gave 
ear to the loud harsh voice. In an inauspicious 
hour the whole Eegular Sepoy force of India was 
not only irregularized : it was, moreover, made a 
bastard mixture of the Eegular and the Irregular. 

The result is the ruin of the Indian army. The 
system itself is simply a marvel. The corps have 
either too many officers or too few. For drilling 
purposes you want only a commandant, an adjutant 
(who should also be musketry-instructor), and a sur- 
geon ; or at most the three combatants who led 
the old Irregular corps. For fighting you require, 
besides the field-officers, at least two Englishmen 
or, better still, three per company. It is, I own, 
possible to increase the normal complement by free 



(30 Sind Revisited. 



borrowing from the staff corps, and from the rest of 
the army, but every soldier will tell you that this 
is a mere shift : the officers must know their men, 
and the men their officers. 

Again, under the present system, which effectu- 
ally combines the faults of both the older, and the 
merits of neither, your infantry corps with its full 
cadre, of which half is usually absent, theoretically 
numbers nine European officers. One, the surgeon, 
is a non-combatant, and two, the adjutant and 
quarter-master, are usually represented by the wing 
subalterns. An English regiment, with its cadre 
of thirty, mounts only its field-officers and adjutant. 
An Indian corps — would you believe it? — mounts the 
lieutenant-colonel commanding ; the major, second 
in command ; the two wing officers, the two wing 
subalterns, the adjutant, and the quarter-master. 
The result is to incur the moral certainty of their 
all being swept away by the first few volleys. True, 
you have sixteen native commissioned officers, forty 
havildars (sergeants), and the same number of naiks 
(corporals), a total of ninety-six. But the belief 
that Sepoys will fight, without Englishmen to lead 
them, is a scare, a sham, and a delusion. 

A host of other evils besets the present state of 
things. Your cavalry corps are so weak in officers, 
rank and file, that a six months' campaign would 
reduce them each to a single troop. Your infantry 
regiments, eight companies of seventy-five bayonets 
each, or a total of 640, have not been reduced to the 
form now recognized as the best tactical unit. 



Indian Army Ruined. 61 

Again, officers are still transferred, after six and even 
seven years' service, from the white to the black line, 
thus bringing them upon the Indian pension-list 
without having served the full time. They also 
want esprit de corps; they dislike and despise 
" Jack Sepoy," and their chief object in life is 
to regain something more congenial than the out- 
station and the dull, half-deserted mess. Again, at 
the other end of the scale, field-officers of twenty- 
five to thirty years' Indian service, are made to do 
subalterns' work. Kegimental zeal is being anni- 
hilated; and the evil of senility is yearly increasing. 
Let me relate a case which you shall presently see 

for yourself. Major A , who has served in a 

corps for nine years, who has seen three campaigns, 
and who for three years has acted second in com- 
mand, lately finds himself superseded by a lieu- 
tenant-colonel, when he himself expects to become 
lieutenant- colonel within six months. What is the 
result ? He is utterly weary of the service ; he has 
lost all heart for its monotonous duties. " An old 
subaltern," says one of your favourites, " is a 
military vegetable, without zeal as without hope." 

Again, the new furlough regulations, after abun- 
dant " considerings," have turned out so badly that 
all who can cleave to the old. Why grant leave, 
with full pay and allowances for six months, to 
Kashmir and to the depths of the Himalayas, and 
yet refuse it to the home-goer, under pain of 
English pay ? Why should the Civil Service have, 
and the military lack, " privilege leave " ? Why 



62 Sind Revisited. 



thus adhere to old and obsolete tradition, so as to 
make the soldier's life as unpleasant as possible? 
Why But at this rate, sir, " Whys " will never 

end. 

Sir Henry Havelock's truthful statement in the 
House of Commons, that the Anglo-Indian army is 
" rotten from head to foot," has surprised the public 
mass which puts trust in Pickwickian and official 
declarations. We, who know the subject, declare 
that the Indian is, perhaps, in a worse condition 
than the home force ; and we assert that the idea 
of opposing regiments, so officered and so manned, 
to the Russians, or even to the Afghans, is simply 
insane. 

Do not disbelieve me, Mr. John Bull, because 
my language is not rose-watered. The Old Maids' 
Journal (Spectator) — ancient, but not very pretty, 
virginity — has lately been berating me for seeking 
" cheap credit " by " pointing out how much better 
duties might be done by persons whose business it is 
to do them." But officials are ever in trammels, 
whilst we critics, who look only to results, are not ; 
moreover, a man is hardly omniscient because his 
work is in this or that department, or even because 
he holds high rank in this or that service. And 
did not Voltaire think and declare that, of all the 
ways of Providence, nothing is so inscrutable as the 
littleness of the minds that control the destinies 
of great natiors ? 

Some have distinction, you know, forced upon 
them ; others win it by means which honest men 



Gospel of Getting -on. 63 

despise. They never report the truth, unless plea- 
sant to the ear : they calculate that, possibly, the 
disagreeable will not occur ; and that, if it does, 
their neglect will be slurred over and forgotten. 
Plausible and specious, " they can preach and they 
can lecture ; they can talk ' soft sawder/ and they 
can quote platitudes ad infinitum. These super- 
ficial specimens of humanity, who know which side 
their bread is buttered, owe their rise, their stars 
and ribbons, their K.C.B.'s and pensions, not to the 
sterling merits of courage and ability, of talents and 
manliness, but to the oily tongue that knows so 
well to work the oracle, and to a readiness of chang- 
ing tactics as the chameleon changes colour." In 
short, these gentlemen have mastered the "gospel 
of getting-on ; " the species "neglected Englishman" 
has not. 

Thus you have no right to be surprised, as 
you often are, when some notorious incapable, in- 
trusted with an office of the highest responsibility, 
comes to grief. His " Kismet," his " Nasib," his 
star, have been in the ascendant, and he has done 
nothing to obscure them by personal merit, by origin- 
ality, by candour, or by over- veracity. These quali- 
ties are sure to make enemies, and the Millennium 
must dawn before your friends — private, public, or 
political — will look after you with the vigour and 
the tenacity of your foes. 

But so rotten is the state, so glaring is the in- 
efficiency, of the Indian army, that you will not be 
astonished to hear reports of " organic changes " 



64 Sind Revisited. 



and fundamental reforms, or even to see a return to 
the old system. Strange to say, Lord Northbrook, 
the civilian, saw the necessity of reorganization. 
Lord Napier, the soldier, who, during the Abyssinian 
campaign, sent for officers to every Presidency, 
ignored it. Perhaps the Napierian clique took the 
opportunity to oppose, tooth and nail, the efforts of 
another service. The Shfahs, who, you know, abhor 
the Sunnis bitterly as Eoman Catholics hate Pro- 
testants, when any mode of action left to private 
judgment is proposed, always choose the line op- 
posed to that taken by their heretic enemies — 
raghman li-l-Tasannun; — "in adverse bearing to 
Sunniship," as the religious formula runs. 

Let us now return to camp. 

Karachi cantonment stands upon a slope which 
commands a view of sandy Kydmari, the pin- 
nacled Oyster Kocks, and the Manhora quoin. East- 
wards it is limited by the head of the Chini, now a 
mangrove-grown swamp uncommonly fetid in the 
hot season, and kept from spreading northwards by 
the raised road to that little chain of truncated 
cones, whereon are built Honeymoon Lodge, Clifton, 
and Ghisri. In this direction, also, is the Frere 
railway station for camp, distant six miles from the 
Kyani&ri head, whence the line winds to the south 
of the cantonment: two tall smoke-stacks mark 
the place from afar. Here also was founded the 
inevitable Frere Town, but unhappily it did not 
progress beyond the fourth house. The surface is a 
hard, dry crust of sand, gravel, and silt, thinly 



Water and Vegetation. 65 

spread over beds of stone and pebbles. Water, salt as 
that of the sea, underlies the surface at three to seven 
feet. This also is the average depth of the wells : the 
best supply in camp is in the compound of Messrs. 
Treacher and Co. When its horizon is shallow, the 
houses suffer ; the lower part of the walls is damp- 
stained, and the inmates have reason to fear fever. 

The streets of camp are level roads of exem- 
plary breadth, macadamized with the crumbling 
sandstone, whose dust no possible amount of wet- 
ting and watering has power to lay. The little 
stream-beds are bridged over, and the oil-lamps at 
night cry for gas. The " compounds " which flank 
the thoroughfares are now girt with masonry ; the 
milk-bush hedges, which sheltered snakes and various 
abominations, and the wire-fences, which broke 
many a leg as the owner was riding home in the 
dark, have clean disappeared. Philologists, by the 
way, derive the word from the Portuguese Cam- 
panha ; the facetious explain it as a composition 
of the courtyard and the garden. The vegetation is 
of that hardy sort which can thrive upon salt water : 
the scraggy casuarina — as yet the eucalyptus has 
not had a fair trial — the tamarisk, the Babul 
(mimosa), the Salvador a persica, and an occasional 
date-palm ; besides cactus, aloes, and euphorbia, 
oleanders, and a variety of salsolaceous plants. 
Turf is a clear impossibility, and those who attempt 
to grow European shrubs and flowers must seek a 
sheltered spot, and nurse them carefully as though 
they were " Europe babies." 
vol. i. 5 



66 Sind Revisited. 



It is easy to detect the humble dwellings of the 
primitive colonists (1844), sheds of wattle and dab, 
more or less whitewashed, in the shape of single- 
poled tents: they are now degraded into stables 
or servants' offices. The first step was followed 
by double-storied houses, with extensive ranges 
of rooms and thickly-stuccoed flat roofs, made to be 
promenaded. These, however, arose only when men 
could calculate upon being stationary for a time at 
the "station" of Karachi. Except in a few instances, 
all were bungalows, parallelograms of unlovely 
regularity, with walls of sun-dried brick, double- 
whitewashed to promote cleanliness and glare ; 
sometimes level above, more often pent-shaped 
with red and blue tiles ; while the pulled- out eaves, 
prevented from falling by clumsy brick or rough 
wooden pillars, made the interiors pleasantly or pain- 
fully dark. Each had its dependent lines of dirty, 
dingy " cook-houses," dens for the blacks, and other 
conveniences, built far enough off to temper the 
pungency of the screams and the steams that escaped 
through the doorless doorways. Finally appeared 
a few pretentious erections, built in no earthly style 
of architecture, which puzzled you as to their in- 
tentions : these were the " follies " of Anglo-Indian 
clerks and mulatto writers, a race of men which 
ever hugely delights in converting rupees to un- 
lovely masses of brick and mortar. 

Yet there was some character in camp, and each 
domicile spoke plainly enough for its tenant. Here 
the huge stuccoed pile, with tall arches and bright 



The Old Camp. 67 

" Chiks," or blinds, between, towering above a thick 
screen of euphorbia, which took the labour of a 
dozen men to water, denoted the commissariat or 
the staff officer. How well I remember this one, 
where the devout owner, generally known as "Dismal 
Jemmy," forbade his servants to feed his horses, but 
made them drive and drag him to church, on the 
" Sawbath." There, the small neat building with 
jealously curtained windows, a carriage under the 
adjoining shed, comparatively clean outhouses, and 
an apology for a garden, kept up in the face of many 
difficulties, pointed out the captain or field-officer 
with the white wife. A little beyond it another 
bungalow, trellised round with bamboo- work, a gaudy 
palanquin lying near the dirty huts, and two or three 
jaunty, debauched-looking " darkies," dressed in the 
height of black dandyism, showed manifest traces of 
the black wife, the "Bubti." 1 Further still, you 
remarked a long low range of stained and dilapidated 
buildings, under whose broad verandah still slept 
three or four young gentlemen, despite the glittering 
morn, the yelping of a dozen terriers, and the squab- 
bling of as many MMr or Pariah servants, each ex- 
horting his neighbour to do his work : that was a 
Castle of Indolence, in which several subalterns of a 
white regiment chummed together, for the greater 
facility of murdering Time. Again, you observed a 
mean-looking bungalow, with appended stables and 
kennels, which were by far the best part of the 
establishment ; the fine head of a castey Arab peep- 

1 A Western Indian corruption of "Bibi." 



68 Sind Revisited. 



ing from the loose box being the only sign of life 
about the place : that was a " Duck * Subaltern 
Hall." The two latter tenements were in a state of 
admirable disorder: the fences were broken down 
by being used as leaping-bars, the garden was de- 
stroyed by being made a ringing-ground, and the 
walls were pitted with pistol-shot and pellet-bow. 
Near each, a goodly heap of dusty " Marines," which 
had travelled from the generous vineyards of the 
South to do their duty on the parched plains of 
Sind, lay piled, hard by shattered six- dozen chests, 
old torn fly-tents, legless chairs, and other pieces of 
furniture that had suffered from the wars within 
doors. The bottle difficulty, indeed, is not yet 
solved. When I entered the Unhappy Valley, we 
used to exchange one for a fowl : now they are 
mere rubbish till breweries shall be established ; 
and he who patents some profitable way of con- 
verting the waste glass into rupees will make his 
fortune. For princely incomes have arisen from 
bottles ; witness, to quote one of many, Sir Jamsetji 
Jijibhai, " Bd,ttli-wal£ " and Baronet. 

Time, which found Karachi camp built of un- 
baked brick, has now turned it into stone. The 
huge dirty Sadr, or high, bazdr, " full of shopkeepers 
and servants, soldiers and sepoys, ladies of no 

1 Ducks, Bombayites— from the bummalow or bobil, the dried 
fish still called " Bombay Duck ; " " Qui Hyes," Bengalis— from the 
eternal " Koi hay ? " (who's there ?) that took the place of bells ; and 
lastly, "Mulls," or Madrassis from the Benighted Presidency, 
because they lived upon' water and mulligatawny, or they made a 
"mull" of everything they attempted. 



The Old Camp. 69 



virtue to speak of, nude children, and yelping curs 
— a scene strictly in the Eastern low-life style " — 
which disgraced the camp, has now been broadened, 
cleansed, and converted into a general market. 
Some of the houses, for instance that of Adam Ali, 
are remarkably good and, where the high-road 
runs, all the hovels have made way for a dickey 
of " pakkd 1 -built" stores in the newest Sindi 
style. We find the modiste, Madame Schlepper, 
who occasionally suffers from a creditor slipping 
away ; Mr. Davidson, an old soldier, keeping a 
general store ; the photographic rooms of Mr. 
Michie ; and, finally, Mr. Speechly, the apothecary, 
who, here as elsewhere, soon becomes rich by selling 
pennyworths for sixpences. The " large, roomy 
bungalows, oblong, single-storied buildings dressed 
with mathematical precision to the front," are 
become five huge blocks, costing as many lakhs and 
more, extending over an immense space east of the 
Staff Lines, with arched verandahs in the second 
floor to catch the sea-breeze : nowhere is the British 
soldier better lodged and cared for than in the 
Napier Barracks, built about 1868. Daring her 
childhood Karachi had two race-courses and no 
church. Then she broke out into a Protestant 
chapel with very little outward show, and a Eoman 
Catholic chapel built palpably for effect : in these 

1 " Pakkd" (ripe), opposed to "kachd" (raw), is an indispensable 
word in the Anglo-Indian dialect. Your "pakkd " house is of stone 
and mortar; and your "pakkd" appointment is the reverse of a 
" kachd," or acting one. 



70 Sind Revisited. 



days it appears a mean white structure of the poorest 
Portuguese type, thoroughly, "sat upon" and 
dwarfed by St. Patrick's to the north-north-east of 
the Napier Barracks. And the Church in general is 
magnificently lodged. The Parsis have a latticed 
fire-temple in the bazar. The Catholics have grown 
a large and splendid nunnery and girls' school near 
the old cemetery. The Methodists have a chapel, par- 
sonage, and school close to the bazar ; and we shall 
presently prospect the Kirk and the Established 
Church. The station "devil-dodger," as his reverence 
was irreverently termed by the subalterns, who be- 
strode his old grey Eosinante in the costume of his 
cloth, a black tail-coat and a tile covered with white 
calico, has been multiplied by six, most of whom wear 
the petit collet. The ' ' species of barn intended for the 
accommodation of the drama " has developed into a 
tolerably neat little theatre, where strollers sometimes 
appear during the season : this begins about the end 
of March, when the Commissioner and the staff- 
officers return from district work. The "iceless 
receptacle for Wenham Lake ice " is supplanted by 
a tall-chimney'd manufactory, which produces, 
however, an unpleasant substitute. Aerated, unduly 
called soda, water is made at the rate of half an anna 
per bottle ; it smacks unpleasantly of its native 
element, and the connoisseur pronounces it much 
inferior to that of Sakhar. There is a club which 
wants only a new club-house, with a decent-sized 
dining-room, and chambers for the passing stranger : 
here, if truth be spoken, early play is on a liberal 



New Camp. 71 

scale. There is even reform and repair in the un- 
canny-looking yellow and white building, the old 
Freemasons' Lodge, accommodating some nine dif- 
ferent items, for which I must refer you to Hand- 
books : the natives will call it J^du-ghar, or 
" Sorcery -house." The vulgar estimate of the 
respectable order is that we represent a band of 
sorcerers, who meet in the $i\a§t\$uov to worship 
the Shay tan, the "horned man in the smoky house,'' 
and to concert diabolical projects against the Chosen 
People of Allah themselves. The more learned 
Oriental believes the mystic craft to be a relic of 
Monotheism, and especially of Guebrism, embedded 
in the modern structure of Christianity. It is the 
fashion, I may observe, with Moslem free-thinkers 
to hold the Emperor Aurelian's opinion, that, 
" among all the Gods, none is truly worthy of adora- 
tion but the sun ; " and, impressed with this idea, 
Mr. Bull, their minds naturally detect lurking 
Guebrism in all beliefs. 

The West End of Karachi is where the old 
Staff Lines run from north-north-west to south - 
south-east, where the grandees dwell, and where his 
Excellency the Governor or the Commissioner, as 
the case may be — titles are frail things hereabouts 
— holds his little court. Five straight and precise 
roads, 1 medisevally called "streets," run parallel with 
the shore and extend to the railway station, or con- 

1 Beginning from the east are — 1. Napier Road ; 2. Military- 
Lines, alias Frere Street ; 3. Staff Lines, alias Elphinstone Street ; 
4. Clifton Road, alias Victoria Street ; and, 5. Kacheri (Cutcherry) 
Road. 



72 Sind Revisited. 

verge towards " Clifton." Let us choose Frere Street, 
No. 2, and begin at the southern end. Here, 
despite the vast growth of building, my eye at once 
detects the whitewashed, single-storied, arcaded, 
and tiled bungalow, which we once considered a 
palatial building, the work of Sir Charles Napier's 
Military Secretary, Captain "Beer Brown," of the 
Bengal Engineers ; — poor fellow ! he lived upon, and 
died of, a dozen of Bass per diem ! The third going 
westward, a rickety old badminton court which 
threatens to cave in, is the office of the Sind Canal 
Survey Department ; — ah ! Mr. Bull, were I a woman, 
my first act would be to " sit down and have a good 
cry ! " Only one of the joyous crew still breathes 
the upper air of Karachi, Colonel W. B. Lambert, 
now its collector. 

But the "cry" would soon be turned into a 
hearty laugh by that pretentious affair of crumbling 
stone known as " Frere Hall." The downpour and 
deluge of gold which flooded Bombay in a.d. 
1860-64, and which converted even the "buggy- 
walas," or cabbies, into shareholders, afforded a 
drizzle or two even to far Karachi; and hence we 
may explain the abnormal growth. We cannot but 
regard this Gothic monster with a kind of what-the- 
dickens-are-you-doing-here ? feeling. It was intended 
for Ddrbdxs (levees) and other such occasions where 
no D^rbare are held ; and, these failing, the big hall 
has been converted into dancing and supper room, 
whilst the ground floor has become a library and a 
municipal museum. This " noble building," as the 



Frere Hall 73 



Gazetteer 1 calls it, opened in October, 1865, and 
was called after the Governor of Bombay, who had 
been Commissioner in Sind between 1851-59. The 
designer, Capt. St. Clair Wilkins, E.E., was probably 
ordered to prefer the " Veneto-Gothic," so fit for 
Venice, so unfit for Karachi; — it is to be hoped 
that the new club will not adopt Veneto- Gothic. 
The externals are all hideous — the heavy and taste- 
less eastern porch, the solitary octagonal tower, and 
the crosses and circles of white Porbandar stone ; 
while the stilted roof-spirelet, covered with Muntz's 
metal, is right worthy of a gentleman's stables. 
The grounds, partly railed and planted with milk- 
bush, cover some fifteen acres, and here the evening 
band of the white regiment attracts carriages and 
horses. The main use of Frere Hall is to serve the 
shipping as a landmark : from the offing, the tower 
and spirelet of this portentous and pretentious erec- 
tion in crumbling sandstone suggest an honest 
Moslem Idgdh. Mr. Commissioner, indeed, seems 
to have proposed for himself three main objects in 
life: (l) building Frere towns; (2) building Frere 
halls ; (3) building Frere roads, which have a truly 
Imperial look — on paper. 

Of the interior we may speak gratefully. The 
south-eastern room is furnished with PattiwaMs 
(belt-men or peons) and a few newspapers : its 

1 "A Gazetteer of the Province of Sind," by A. W. Hughes, 
F.S.S. 898 pages 8vo. With Maps and Photographs. London : 
Bell, 1874. I need hardly say anything in praise of this laborious 
work, a mine of information, which is now appearing in a second 
and corrected edition. 



74 Sind Revisited. 



sole fault is the extreme dullness of the view. 
The central ground-floor, corresponding with the big 
hall, is a library containing nearly 8000 volumes ; 
and, curious to say, it makes annual reports and owns 
a catalogue. 1 The marked deficiency is in books of 
local interest, but that seems to be the inherent 
fault of all these institutions. The north-western 
room is the municipal museum, which, like the 
library, is under Mr. Murray ; he is preparing 
to follow in the footsteps of my old friend 
Stocks, and to publish on the botany of the 
province. Here are specimens of the Indus boats, 
mostly misnamed ; the Kdsi, 2 or glazed and encaustic 
Persian tiles, by some called enamelled tiles, whose 
facing forms, or rather formed, the celebrated 
" Porcelain Tower of Nanking " — these are of the 
finest quality, taken from old mosques and tombs ; 
a few birds, beasts, and fishes ; blocks of wood 
and stone ; and, lastly, the gem of the collection, the 
one hundred and thirteen bricks which Mr. W. Cole, 
now Collector of Customs, dug up from the old Bud- 
hist temple below Jarak. The most remarkable piece 
is a terra-cotta alto-relief of Budha, with the usual 

1 The " Twenty-Second Annual Report" (Kurrachee, X874) 
shows 7011 volumes, of which 943 are novels, and 588 " voyages 
and travels " — a fair proportion. The " Catalogue of the Kurrachee 
Municipal Museum" is a separate publication of eighty pages. 

2 1 presume the word is a corruption of Kashani, i.e. made at 
Keshan in Turkistan, the Casciani of Benedict Goes (" Cathay and 
the Way Thither," p. 573) : the Syrians calls it " Kayshani." The 
first porcelain furnace was in the province of Keang-sy, early in the 
seventh century (Davis's Chinese, ii. 255). Since the thirteenth 
century the Kasi has been much used by the Moslem world : I 
shall have more to say upon the subject. 



The Museum. 75 



pendulous ears, and hands crossed over the breast, 
sitting in tailor-position, as he was supposed to 
meditate and contemplate under the Bo-tree. Here 
his shrine is a small temple, formed by a dwarf 
column on each side ; the beaded summit expands 
into the upper three parts of a circle, a full-blown 
" glory." Below the figure, two dogs face each 
other ; and, on the proper left, a ram is shown 
by its horns. The whole is artistic, and contrasts 
strongly with the barbarous mask which suggests 
only the Moabite pottery, made at Jerusalem and 
sold to Berlin. The other important pieces are 
lions' heads, with four bead-strings radiating from 
each mouth ; two fragments of elephants' heads 
and trunks ; geese admirably executed, and a small 
altar of classical shape. Many of the bricks bear 
leaves which suggest the acanthus, some have the 
seven-ray 'd star, and others the dice-pattern deeply 
sunk. This valuable collection, instead of being 
heaped on the floor, should be grouped and framed. 
Truly the distances of Camp Karachi are far more 
magnificent than those of Washington. Walking 
up the Staff Lines to the north-north-west of Frere 
Hall, we stand, with absolute amazement, in presence 
of Trinity Church, which dates from 1852-55. The 
body seems to have been added as an after-thought 
to the steeple ; and the apsidal chancel suggests 
only the section of a certain article admirably 
copied, as in the Albert Music Hall, Kensington. 
Of what could my old friend, John Bull, have been 
dreaming when he begat this " fright ? " The tower, 



76 Sind Revisited. 



said to be taken from some Italian horror, consists of 
six stages, 150 feet high, beginning with the clock 
and ending with the battlements ; the windows in- 
crease upwards from one to four, giving the idea of 
a pyramid standing upon its apex ; and, they say, 
the upper story, which, like No. 5, contains also four 
lights, was added for the benefit of the shipping. 
Altogether the thing suggests a hammer with the 
handle turned heavenwards : a steeple was pro- 
posed for it, but even the Kardchi-ite could not 
stand that. 

We now leave on the left the old Eesidency, noted 
by its huge flag- staff. Built for the humble days 
of Sir Charles Napier, it has been gradually ex- 
tended, like an English country house, and now it is 
a chaotic agglomerate of white walls and tiled roofs. 
It is at present occupied by General Sir William L. 
Merewether, K.C.S.I., C.B., etc., etc., etc., an officer 
who, by entire devotion to the interests of this 
province, the scene of his distinguished career 
during the last thirty-three years, has "made epoch" 
and history. Beyond it, also to the left, are the three 
blocks of artillery-barracks, arched below, as those 
for the infantry are arched above. And we will end 
this dusty walk with a glance at St. Andrew's, 
the Kirk designed by Mr. T. G. Newnham, Deputy 
Agent, Indus Flotilla. The steeple, fourteenth- 
century Gothic, is by no means so absurd as that of 
Trinity; but the roof ridge is too high, and the long 
walls are unjustifiably broken into ten, instead of 
three or five, gables on each side — here, again, half 



Changes in Camp. 77 

would be better than the whole. Apparently it is 
unfinished : the rose window is a ventilator which 
wants glass, and there is a hole where the clock 
should be. As it squares up to its tall brother of 
the Establishment, the Kirk suggests a small pugilist 
offering to fight a big drayman for a pot of porter. 

The intensely military aspect and sound of 
Karachi have vanished with the days when she con- 
tained, besides artillery and cavalry, three white 
and as many black regiments. You may take your 
morning walk without that " Dutch Concert " and 
" Devil's Tattoo " of martial music. You no longer 
see the squares dotted with Johnny Eaws, under the 
adjutant's watchful eye, in every grade of recruitism, 
from the rigid miseries of the " goose-step," to the 
finishing touch of the sword and the bayonet exer- 
cises. Our old friend Brigadier Dundas, generally 
called Dunderhead, is no longer here to insist upon 
uniform as often as possible ; and white stuffs with 
regimental buttons are considered sufficient for 
show. I know no spectacle more ridiculous than one 
familiar to our old days, an officer of horse -artillery, 
all plastered with ginger-bread gold, being stared at 
by an admiring circle of a dozen half-naked blacks. 

Karachi, you see, has changed in many other 
points during the last quarter- century. The steamer 
and the railway, the telegraph and the counting- 
house, the church and the college, have gained the 
day against artillery, cavalry, and infantry. The 
" mercantile " element has become a power; and 
even the stockbroker, though limited, is not un- 



78 Sind Revisited. 



known. The Church, I have told you, now numbers 
half-dozens where she had formerly single "pastors," 
and the sheep are folded with a regularity which 
suggests reasons for such devotion. When you meet 
the Sunday promenader bound for " Dr. Greenfield," 
he probably does not intend to promenade alone. 
Finally, the school has become as prominent an 
institution as at home, and it threatens, in Sind 
as in Syria, to build a room and to keep a master 
for every head of boy and girl. 1 

I will not precisely assert that hospitality has 
been relegated from the centres to the extremities, 
the out-stations, but the general impression left 
by a flying visit is something like it. Men can 
no longer afford to keep open-house ; the frequency 
of furloughs supplies other ways of spending money. 
The depreciation of the rupee, not to mention the 
utter want of small change, is a sound and sore 
grievance to those who must remit home. While 
prices have prodigiously advanced, salaries have 
not. Add to this the dreary dullness of a small 
station, confined in numbers but not in space, with 
a mixed society which does not mix well. The 
natural effect is to make the exiles dislike one 
another heartily, or to love one another only too 
well. And Anglo-Indian society is somewhat 
like that of the United States — English with the 
pressure taken off it. Despite the general church- 

1 The Gazetteer (p. 370) gives a list of ten " educational estab- 
lishments," receiving grants and aids from the municipality. Add 
at least five more and you have a fair proportion for a city which 
can hardly number 50,000 souls. 



Feckless Kardchi. 79 

going, scandals occur with curious persistency, and 
Mrs. A. rides out as regularly with Captain B., 
as that officer drives with Mrs. C. Finally, 
there is a dawdling, feckless, ne'er-do-well way 
about Karachi, far more Asiatic than European. 
If you want tea at 5 a.m. instead of 6 a.m., the 
lazy servants listen and say, "Achhd,, sd'b" (Yess'r), 
and never obey. If you order a carriage, it will 
come at its own convenience. So you are not 
surprised to hear of the fate of an officer who, 
having a fad for " doing things in time," found life 
so very hard upon the nerves that he preferred 
to it the death of Seneca. 

Politics are at this moment absorbing public 
attention. Sind, in the days of Sir Charles Napier, 
could stand alone ; now "she cannot. Her manifest 
destiny is to become the line of transit and traffic, 
the harbour of export from the Panjab, which will 
then cease to ship goods vid Bombay and Calcutta. 
When Lord Northbrook visited Kardchi, he was 
petitioned by the merchants to amalgamate ; unfor- 
tunately that Grand Moghal, although, as a rule, 
by no means averse to improvement, replied Napo- 
leonically, "Je n'en vois pas la necessite." His 
successor will probably recognize a fitness of things 
palpable to the vague but useful personage " any 
schoolboy." The Governor of the Panjab will then 
resort to Young Alexandria for sea-bathing ; and an 
economical Ministry will no longer see the propriety 
of keeping a Commissioner at the rate of four 
thousand rupees per mensem. 



80 Sind Revisited. 



And a little war upon the frontier is again 
threatened. Sir W. L. Merewether first proposed to 
support the Khan of Kelat against his unruly Sar- 
dars (chiefs) ; and then, " turning north by south," 
he talked of deposing the Amir, KhudadaU Where- 
upon the Supreme Government took away the 
political charge of the frontier, reducing the Com- 
missionership to a mere affair of revenue and in- 
ternal and external administration ; while, more 
unpleasant still, the marches were placed under 
the command of Colonel Munro and Major Sande- 
man, the latter a persona ingrata to the Commis- 
sioner. A force has lately (March, 1876) been 
marched upon the Bolan Pass and Kelat 1 with 
abundant mystery. It is reported that it will 
summer there ; and hope is freely expressed that 
this step means annexation. Kelat, provided with 
a good carriage-road, would make a charming sani- 
tarium for Sind : it is a land where the apple 
flourishes, and where frosts are hard : the Unhappy 
Valley wants this snug and cool retreat, and pre- 
sently she will have it. 

I cannot think well of such interference between 
native princes and subjects. The rights of the 

1 The force proceeding to the Bolan Pass, so late in the year 
and under command of Captain Humfry, instead of Colonel Hogg, 
escorts a kafileh of 2000 camels, and numbers — 

55 men, half -battery, mountain-train. 
100 sabres, Panjal) Cavalry. 
227 „ 3rd Sind Horse. 
276 men 4th Panjab Rifles. 
217 ,, Jacob's Rifles (30th Bombay Regiment). 

Total 875 men. 



Annexation. 81 



question are often unknown at head-quarters. If 
you assist the rulers, you always make one ingrate 
and enemies by the thousand ; if you support the 
Sardars, you sow rebellion, present and future, and 
you must expect to reap the results. Let me hope 
that the Baroda imbroglio will not be repeated, and 
that, if the chief is unfitted to command and his 
chieftains to obey, we shall simply garrison the 
city and hold the country. 

" What ! More annexation ? " 

Yes, sir. In and about India you must move 
on : to stand still is to fall back. Please remember 
Prince Bismarck, "A nation which voluntarily 
surrenders territory is a nation in decay;" and 
carry out his dictum to its just conclusion. This 
anti-annexation mania, which was a mere reaction 
after the general "conveying" of 1835-45, is happily 
passing away ; but it did look at one time very 
much like putting up the shutters and closing the 
shop. England is a country of compromises ; India 
is not. Here you must choose your line of con- 
duct and never deviate from it. Had a late Viceroy 
said to the Gdikwar, " You do not suit me : leave 
that seat : I will appoint a better man ! " all India 
would have understood him. But he almost pro- 
voked a " row" in the Maratha" country by putting 
in orders a committee of native princes, as the 
English fashion is, and then, as the English fashion 
is not, by overruling their decision. 

" Ahem ! " 

VOL. I. 6 



82 Sind Revisited. 



CHAPTEK IV. 

CLIFTON — GHISRI BANDAR — THE ALLIGATOR-TANK. 

The sun is sinking slowly towards his couch of 
purple and gold in the western main ; we have still 
time to drive over the couple of miles that separate 
us from " Clifton." 

Clifton ! How many recollections are conjured 
up by the word. Again you see the Vallambrosa 
of Old England with its turfy downs, its wood- 
grown chasm, and its classic stream, the Fiume 
Sebeto of which the poet sang : 

" Tanto ricco d'onor quanto povero d'onde." 

Clifton ! you exclaim, in doggerel — poetical you 
may not become — 

" Powers of heaven ! and can it be 
That this is all I came to see ? " 

Yes, sir, such is Sind ; but note the peculiarities 
of the drive. Yon huge pile beyond the New 
Barracks is the Napier Hospital ; nearer us is the 
ground where the Scotchmen play golf over the 
roughest of Nalas (nullahs) ; this bit of metal awning 



En Route to Clifton. 8,3 

is Frere Station ; those vast yellow buildings, with 
the tall smoke-stacks, are the railway workshops. 
As we pass through the iron-road gate we find the 
usual knot of male nurses and female nurses, of babies 
and " Europe " dogs : the four seem everywhere to 
herd together. Further to the east of the embanked 
road lies the new race- course, marked out by white 
posts and broken-down sheds called Grand Stand. 
To the east-north-east is a brilliantly lime- washed 
truncated cylinder of masonry, the Dakhmeh, or 
charnel-house, of the Parsis, to which some poetic- 
ally inclined ninny has given the popular name, 
" Tower of Silence." Further on, north of the rail- 
way, you see the quarries which built new Karachi. 
Some way to the right rises the " Observatory," 
where no observations are, have been, or ever will 
be made : it is a stout little bit of building with- 
out entrance, the door being blocked, and snakes are 
said to have taken the lease. The lump supporting 
it is old "Bath Island;" and the salty ground, 
of dull chocolate with snowy efflorescence, together 
with the pestilent smell, show the mangrove-haunted 
mouth of the Chini backwater : it formerly over- 
flowed the plain subtending the eastern part of the 
harbour. The Persians say of Sind — 

" The smell of death is in our noses ; " 

and let the man who would understand the full 
force of the expression, take up a handful of earth 
immediately after a shower, and submit it to the 
action of his olfactories. The fact is that even the soil 



84 Sind Revisited. 



of the desert is strongly impregnated with decayed 
matter, animal and vegetable; and, when the Saraha 
is swamped, all the South of Europe will become 
uninhabitable. After three miles or so, the road 
ascends a quoin-shaped buttress of dust and rugged 
rock, incipient sandstone, capped with a hard con- 
glomerate of water-rolled pebbles, embedded in 
silicious paste. It tails off inland: seawards the 
face is more or less abrupt; and here, at the 
"Points," very different from MatharaVs and 
Mahabaleshwar's, are a few masonry benches, and 
half a dozen Sind " villas," which have not increased 
in number during the last quarter- century. They 
still represent the three normal types; the single- 
poled tent, the double-poled tent, and the cow-house, 
of which the Commissioners quarters in camp sup- 
ply the most characteristic specimen. And already 
there is a grim modern ruin which speaks of pro- 
gress the wrong way. Such are the uncomely 
features of the " Civil Marine Sanitarium," Clifton 
in the Far East, which took its name from the birth- 
place of the old Conqueror. 

However, the breath of the Arabian Sea is deli- 
ciously fresh and pure ; whilst all the surroundings 

" Of sea and cliff and silver strand ; " 

the blue plain bordering Father Indus, the brown 
hills of Pir Mango, the azure crags of the Pabb 
Mountains, and the long chord of the Bay made 
continuous by the Chini dam, contrast well with 
bare and dismal Karachi camp. The bathing, too, 



Clifton. 85 

is good ; the piles, once planted by way of barriers 
against ravenous sharks, have been removed, de- 
spite the tradition of a soldier eaten in the hoar 
depths of a remote antiquity ; and a wooden gang- 
way has been laid to defend the feet. Turtle 
(T. Indica) is sometimes turned ; unfortunately, the 
Bdbarchis (Anglice, " cook-boys ") ignore the art 
of cooking them. We hear of basking sharks l 
sixty feet long : but these monsters, whose splendid 
fins have been exported to China, and whose oil 
is used in Arabia for defending boat-bottoms from 
the teredo, are apparently non -anthropophagous, 
The Hindus lately opened a fane to Mahadeva 
in a chevron-shaped hole, apparently worked 
and turned by the ceaseless action of wind-blown 
sands, and the attendant " Jogi " rears pigeons 
for devotion, not for pies. The third person of the 
Hindu Triad, you will remember, became incar- 
nate at Meccah in the form of a pigeon and under 
the title of Kapoteshwar — " Pigeon-god. " The 
pious have also dug a well, but the supply is like 
brine. The great inconvenience of this favourite 
watering-place, this Sindian " Kamleh," is that it 
affords absolutely nothing, not even drinkable water. 
You must send to the Sadr-, or high, bdzdr, of camp 
for all you want, and on such occasions your ser- 
vants have a pleasant trick of taking six hours to 
do what should occupy two. 

1 The sharks are Carcharias vulgaris (white shark) ; Zygoma 
laticeps (hammer-head) ; Squalus fasciatus and S. pristis (saw-fish) ; 
and Squalus Baja. 



86 Sind Revisited. 



Here, sir, we used to assemble to bathe, to 
" tiff," not in the English sense of the word, and 
to " maV or slaughter innocent crabs. At times 
some such scene as this took place, to be duly re- 
called and revered by memory. 

A dozen young gentlemen smoking like chim- 
neys at Christmas, talking and laughing at the same 
time, mount their Arabs, and show how Arabs can 
get down a puzzling hill and over loose hillocks of 
sand. They all form line upon the bit of clear hard 
beach which separates the sea from the cliff. There 
is a bet upon the tapis there. 

A prick of the spur and a lash with the whip : 
on dash the Arabs, like mad, towards and into the 
Arabian Sea. 

A long hollow breaker curls as it nears the 
land, and bursts into a shower of snowy foam. 
Of the twelve cavaliers only one has weathered the 
storm, kept his seat, and won the day. Eleven may 
be seen in various positions, some struggling in the 
swell, others flat upon the sand, and others scudding 
about the hillocks, vainly endeavouring to catch or 
to curb their runaway nags. 

This boisterous jollity is now numbered with 
the things that were. A few dull-looking whites 
promenade the strand, probably talking shop or be- 
moaning an eighteen-penny rupee ; and, considering 
how loudly Karachi and Clifton boast of their 
climate, the denizens do it injustice ; they look 
subject to liver as well as to the ennui plague. I 
never saw in India more pallid women or apstier 



To Ghisri. 87 



children ; Karachi seems to carry most of her green 
upon the cheeks of her "pale faces." Only some 
half-dozen weary, service-worn men remember with 
amazement the high spirits of Clifton's youth. 
The crabs are safe, and so is game generally — no 
one can now afford the heart, even if he has the 
coin, for Shikar. Yet here Lieutenant (now 
Colonel) Marston excelled every native sportsman 
in stripping the highlands of Ibex and the Gad 
(wild sheep), and Lieutenant Eice began a career 
which ended with his becoming the Champion Tiger- 
shot of the world. The political economist, the 
Liberal statesman, and the Manchester School gene- 
rally, will opine that the change has been for the 
better. I hope you do not. 

It is now time to return homewards. We will 
drive a few yards to the east-south-east and visit 
Ghisri — a counterpart of Clifton in all points, except 
that here, instead of the bungalows, is a Government 
or "Military Marine Sanitarium." The materiel is 
represented by three prim stone-boxes like detached 
villas, with green chiks or screens for officers ; long, 
mud-roofed ranges of quarters for men ; and a rond 
pointy whence visitors can prospect the sea and the 
crater-like heaps of loose sand. Suggesting the 
moving mounds thrown up by the Nile about 
Syrian Bayrut, they have rendered Ghisri "Bandar" 
(port), distant four miles from Karachi, and once 
the nearest embarkation place on the Indus, or 
rather the GMra Creek, a name and nothing more. 
But how lovely are these Oriental nights ! 



88 Sind Revisited. 



how especially lovely, contrasted with the most 
unlovely Oriental day ! This south-western fag-end 
of the Unhappy Valley is a desert plain of sand 
and dust, of silt and mud, with pins and dots of 
barren rocky hill, cut by rare torrents after rain, 
broken into rises and falls by the furious winds, 
and scarcely affording enough of thorns, salsolse, 
and fire-plants, as they call the varieties of 
euphorbia, to feed a dozen goats and camels. Yet 
the hour, somehow or other, invests even this grisly 
prospect with a portion of its own peculiar 
charms. The heavy dew floats up from the sun- 
parched soil in semi-transparent mists, at once 
mellowing, graduating, and diversifying a landscape 
which the painful transparency of the diurnal 
atmosphere lays out all in one plane like a Chinese 
picture. The upper heights of the firmament-vault 
are of the deepest, most transparent, and most 
pellucid purple-blue, melting away around its walls 
into the lightest silvery azure ; the moonbeams lie 
like snow upon the nether world ; there is harmony 
in the night-gale, and an absence of every harsher 
sound that could dispel the spell which the majestic 
repose of Nature casts upon our spirits. 

And now for the alligators. In former days we 
should have sent off our tents, and mounted our 
nags to canter joyously over the seven miles of 
bad ground separating Karachi from Pir Mango. 
But the horse, here and elsewhere in British India, 
has made way for the carriage, a step in civiliza- 
tion from which the Argentine Eepublic expects 



Government Gardens. 89 

great results. The local Hansoms and "Huglies" 
are open barouches, drawn by two skeleton nags : 
we have a unicorn of these phantom steeds, and 
you will presently see why. The trap and three 
is hired from the old Parsi, Merwanji Burjoji : 
we especially name 5 a.m., and we are kept wait- 
ing till 6, so as to get more sun than we want. 
Here time is not money, but an enemy to be dis- 
posed of; and the dawdling, inconsequent way of 
life is very heavy upon the nervous systems of 
new-comers. At last the low-caste Hindu driver, 
grinning wide at our objurgations, begins to flog his 
lean nags into a rough canter, up the No. 1, or 
Napier Road ; through the Sadr-bazdr ; past the 
huge pile of Government School, over the " Irish 
bridges" or ill-paved dip -watercourses of masonry, 
and along the face of the tattered, half- ruined, 
melancholy bungalows which, in the days of " Old 
Charley/' were looked upon as palatial abodes. On 
the right are the blue sheds of the 2nd Beloch 
Eegiment, and in front lies a crumbling camp- 
bazar which once supplied the " Soldiers' Lines." 
It preserves its trees, for here a booth with shade 
is like a corner shop in London. We must walk 
through the Government Gardens to understand the 
way in which everything but mere "duty" is 
neglected throughout Sind. Like the cemeteries of 
the United States, these are the prettiest places in 
the land ; yet, with the sole exception of Shikarpur, 
they are left to Nature and the "nigger." The 
Karachi establishment gardens, of about forty acres, 



90 Sind Revisited. 

lie on the northern outskirts of camp, hugging the 
left bank of the Liyari river, the only site where a 
sufficiency of sweet water is procurable. Their few 
acres of poor mean land, grandiloquently named, 
contain a multitude of wells and Persian wheels ; a 
circle where the band plays to pallid ladies in the 
evening, especially Saturday ; an archery ground, 
with one mud butt in ruins ; a field of staring holly- 
hocks, a large swimming bath in the worst condition, 
and a cricket-ground well cracked by torrid suns. 
The grass is being uprooted by a native, and to 
the question " Why ? " he replies curtly, " Bayl ke 
waste " — for the bullock. The shady and avenued 
promenades divide a considerable expanse of vege- 
table-beds, especially lettuces, cabbages, and onions. 
Formerly residents, on paying a subscription, got 
their green meat gratis ; now, they go to the bdzar 
for their "garden-sass." 

We thread the dusty roads through the Govern- 
ment Gardens, and presently clash across the wide 
Liyari, beyond reach of civilization, which is here 
represented by brick bridges and evil smells. We 
cross this " Nai " (Wady or Fiumara) at full gallop. 
We might be going to Donnybrook Fair; and 
you feel almost inclined to whoop, and to flourish 
your umbrella by way of shillelagh. After heavy 
showers in the hills, the broad deep bed can hardly 
contain within its wooded and garden'd banks the 
dashing, crashing torrent of frothing yellow mud. 
In autumn and winter the bed is bone-dry, save 
here and there a pool near Karachi town, where the 



To Pir Mango. 91 



little brown-blacks disport themselves in their quasi- 
native element. Water-pits have also been sunk, 
and round the margins crowd dames and damsels, 
fair and dark, young and old, of high and low 
degree, each with earthen pot on head, and mostly 
carrying an infant riding across-hip, and clinging to 
the parental side like a baby baboon. There is an 
immensity of confabulation, a vast volume of sound, 
and, if the loud frequent laugh denote something 
more than what the peevish satirist assigned to it, 
there is much enjoyment during the water-drawing. 
The goodwives here prepare themselves for the 
labours and " duties " of the day, such as cooking 
their husbands' and children's meals, mending 
clothes, gossiping, scan-mag'ging, and other avoca- 
tions multifarious. 

Beyond the influence of the Fiumara stretches 
a level surface, bald and shiny as an old man's pate, 
with an occasional Bismarck-bristle in the shape of 
cactus, asclepias, wild caper, and low scrub. The 
vegetation is bowed landwards by the eternal sea- 
breeze and, for " serious " growth, walls would be 
required. One of the normal "Frere roads" has been 
laid out by the simple process of cutting a ditch on 
either side, but the cart-ruts are so deep that 
we prefer driving "promiscuously" across country. 
We edge gradually towards the low ridge of 
yellow-brown limestone, the Pir Mango Hills, 
which bound the northern extremity of the Karachi 
desert. After dashing through a couple of smaller 
Fiumaras, we strike a notch in the range, and turn 



92 Sind Revisited. 



to the left up a bit of rudely-made road, which 
dams the Nala (nullah) draining our destination. 
The general look of the thermal basin, or rather 
basins, for it is a double feature divided by a rock- 
rib into eastern and western halves, is that of an 
oasis. The two thick groves of dates, cocoas, and 
tamarinds are surrounded, except on the north, 
where the drainage enters, and south, where it flows 
off, by a broken rim of limestones and sandstones 
with a strike to the north-west, and tilted-up at an 
angle of 20°, forming cliffs some five hundred feet 
high, and fronting towards the inner floor. In 
earlier days we should probably have found our tent 
pitched upon the borders of the marsh, under a 
thick and spreading tamarind, which has now gone 
the way of all wood. The natives have a saying 
that sleeping beneath this " Date of Hind " gives 
you fever, which you cure by sleeping under a 
Nim-tree (Melia azedirachta), the lilac of Persia. 
Once, and but once, to shame them out of this 
notable superstition, I tried the experiment on 
my proper person ; but, sir, like the prejudice- 
hating commercial gentleman and his ship Friday, 
I caught a " chill " in the cool, damp shade, which 
made me even more credulous upon that point than 
my informers were. 

As the crocodile was in Old Egypt, so the 
alligator is still a quasi-holy animal in Young Egypt 
and in Pokar or Poshkar of Rajputana. They 
come, it is said, from the " Habb," a word meaning 
the " stream where many streams meet," about ten 



Pir Mango. 93 

miles to the west ; or they work their way overland 
from the Indus — a feat well within the power of 
these saurians. I believe that many are brought when 
young by Fakirs and religious mendicants. They 
are of the man-eating species, with shorter snouts 
than those owned by the harmless gavial (Gavi- 
alis longirostris), with white gapes, and a double 
keel of caudal serrations ending in a single line. 
The people still assure you that the buffalo is the 
only beast they will not touch. On the Indus there 
is also an ichthyophagous alligator called Sisar, whose 
round muzzle bears a knob. It is eaten by the 
Mohana or fishermen, and you can imitate the meat 
by cooking steaks of what soldiers call " bull-beef ' 
between alternate layers of stockfish. 

" Pir Mango/' x as the natives term him, or 
" Muggur Peer," the Alligator Saint, as we corrupt 
the name, was a holy Moslem hermit who, about the 
middle of the thirteenth century, settled in this barren 
spot and, to save himself the trouble of having to 
fetch water from afar, caused, Moses-like, a stream- 
let to trickle out of the rock. On the northern 
hill-crest a whitewashed stone shows where he 
prayed for thirteen years before he " found grace." 
Presently he was visited by four pilgrim brother- 
saints, who, " without rhyme or reason," as Mrs. John 
is apt to say, began to perpetrate a variety of 
miracles. His Holiness Shaykh Lai Shahbaz, now 

1 Pir (or Haji) "Mangho," the supposed Arabic form, is found 
in the Gazetteer : " Mango " is correct Sindi. Mr. E. B. Eastwick 
prefers Pir " Mangah," the Persian form : others give Pir " Mangyar " 
and "Manghyar." 



94 Sind Revisited. 



of Sehwan, created a hot mineral spring, whose thick, 
slaty-blue, graveolent proceeds settled in the nearest 
hollow ; the Eight Keverend Farid el-Din meta- 
morphosed a flower into a monstrous saurian ; the 
holy Jimal el-Din converted his "Miswak," or 
tooth-brushing stick, into a palm-shoot which, at 
once becoming a date-tree, afforded the friends 
sweet fruit and pleasant shade ; while the Very 
Venerable Jelal Jaymaga" made honey and melted- 
butter rain from the trees. After four years of 
contubernation, the friends urged Haji Mango to 
accompany them upon the supererogatory pilgrim- 
age ; but he refused to leave his beloved alligators 
and, opportunely taking the route for Firdaus (Para- 
dise), he left his remains to be interred by the frater- 
nity close to the scene of their preternatural feats. 
This place was an old Hindu pilgrimage, for the 
Pagans still visit it to worship Laid, Jasraj, and in 
reverence of the hot water. They are not, by-the-by, 
the only geologists who have mistaken for true vul- 
canism what is probably the result of sulphur pyrites 
veining the subsoil. There are many similar " Jwala- 
mukhis," or fiery mouths, along the Mekr&n coast ; 
and even the Moslems derive this thermal spring 
from the holy Eavi river of the Idol-worshippers. 

We 1 dash through the last sand- track, some six 
inches deep and, after an hour and a half of hard 
gallop, we draw reins below the new Travellers' 
Bungalow. Facing the ruins of its predecessor, it is 
a dismal-looking article, of the cowshed type, bare 
and shadeless. No messman is needed, for the 



Pit Mango. 95 

Anglo -Indian community is too idle and apathetic 
to ride or drive so far. The " Daldn," or central 
feeding-room, has been monopolized by a cheeky 
Pars! ; and the two northern dens, devoted to 
" Sahib Log/' suggest cats and condemned cells. 
Here we are waited upon by the Mujawir, "Miyan 
Mutka," a son of the grim old Fakir, who died 
about twelve years ago : he is a civilized man, 
speaking a little English and Persian, and, what 
is far better, an excellent Shikari ; who knows 
exactly where game is to be found on the Pabb 
Hills, the blue line that forms our western and 
northern horizon. He takes us in hand, and leads 
us, past a brand-new Dharmsala, and through long 
graveyards with sandstone tombs and carved head- 
pieces representing the male turban, to the Alligator- 
tank proper. A couple of kids precede us, but 
this time they will escape with uncut throats. As 
the holy lizards used to " Stravague," occasionally 
biting off a leg and picking up a nice plump child or 
two, they have been ignominiously prisoned within a 
mud-wall, in places crested with broken glass : here 
we must stand upon stones to look upon the forty 
head of big saurians, some bathing in the waters, 
others basking upon the bank. The dark recess, 
formed by a small bridge thrown over the narrow 
brick -canal which drains the enclosure, is broken 
down ; and thus we miss a characteristic scene when 
Mor Saliib (Mister Peacock), the grisly monarch of the 
place, a genus loci some eighteen feet long, emerged 
in " alligatoric state " from his recess in the warm, 



96 Sind Revisited. 



bluish, sulphurous stream, and protruded through 
the gurgling and bubbling waters his huge snout and 
slimy white swallow, fringed with portentous fangs, 
to receive his offering of kid-flesh. I believe his title 
to be a mere euphuism, even as the Yezidis, called 
by their enemies " Devil- worshippers," converted 
Satan into Malik Taus (Peacock Angel). Mr. E. B. 
Eastwick, however, opines that "the appellation is 
probably derived from a demon with five heads, 
destroyed by Krishnah, and from which that god 
is called Murdri" or Mur's enemy. But why, may 
we ask, should the name of a man-eating Edkhshasa, 
or fiend, be applied to this venerated goat-eater ? 
Nor can I see any reason for believing, with the 
same author, that "these creatures derive their 
sanctity from the place, being regarded as iidnu 
(mediums of supplication), like the sparrows of the 
Branchian Oracle" (Herod, i. 159). 

The scene has been sadly civilized and vul- 
garized by Cockney modern improvements : evi- 
dently the British bourgeois has passed this way. 
Formerly this Khirkand, or milky water, gushed free 
out of the rock which supports the whitewashed 
dome and tomb of the holy Haji ; now it is 
received into a double tank of masonry, where 
bathing invalids enjoy a temperature of 98° F., 1 
and into a lower subdivision out of which cattle 
drink. From the source it passed off into the old 
" Magar Talao," or Alligator-tank proper, still 

1 Lieutenant Carless, of the Bombay Navy, in 1837 made it ] 33° F. 



The Alligator-Tank. 97 

denoted by a bald patch, and a border of trees. 
The little bog was a network of warm shallow 
channels, and of cooler pools foul and stagnant with 
the thick dark-blue sediment, broken here and there 
by lumps of verdant islet and tussocks of rushy 
vegetation. Though not more than 400 feet down 
the centre, by half that breadth, it contained 
hundreds of alligators — some said a thousand — vary- 
ing in size from two to twenty feet. The tout 
ensemble of the scene struck the eye strangely : the 
glaring steel-blue vault above, vividly contrasting 
with the green date-trees and the greener cocoas 
of the oasis, stretching about a mile in length, and 
set, like an emerald, in the tawny gold of the sur- 
rounding desert ; the uncanny hue and form of the 
Stygian swamp, intersected by lines of mineral 
water ; the quaintly-habited groups of visitors, 
and the uncouth forms of the sluggish monsters, 
armed with mail-coats composed of clay whitened 
and hard-baked by the solar ray. All was hors de 
tenue, like a fair woman clad in the " Devil's 
livery," black and yellow, or a dark girl drest in 
red, which, the Persians say, would make a donkey 
laugh. Most of the pilgrims, too, were Kanyaris, or 
dancing-girls from Karachi, and even modest women 
here allowed themselves a latitude of demeanour, 
usual enough in sacred places, but still quite the 
reverse of the strictly " proper. " During the exciting 
moment which decided whether Mister Peacock 
would, or would not, deign to snap at and to swallow 
the hind-quarter of kid, temptingly held within an 
vol. i. 7 



98 " Sind Revisited. 



inch of his nose, Curiosity kicked out Etiquette ; 
faces were unveiled, and backs of heads were bared 
in most unseemly guise. " Wah ! wah ! ! " (hurrah ! 
hurrah !) shouted the crowd as things ended well ; 
and as the old Fakir, at the same time confis- 
cating by way of perquisite the remnant of the 
slaughtered animal, solemnly addressed the donor, 
"Verily thy prayers are acceptable, and great 
will be thy fortunes in both worlds ! " When one 
of the minor monsters sallied forth in huge wrath, 
the groups that thronged the margin of the swamp, 
throwing stones and clods at its tenants, were too 
much terrified to think of anything but precipitate 
escape. And at the fountain-head a bevy of African 
dames and damsels was wont to lave their buffalo- 
like limbs, with about as much attire as would 
decently hide a hand. 

There was "skylarking," too, in those days ; and 
the poor devils of alligators, once jolly as monks or 
rectors, with nothing in the world to do but to 
devour, drink, and doze ; wallow, waddle, and be wor- 
shipped ; came to be shot at, pelted, fished for, bullied, 
and besieged by the Passamonts, Alabasters, and 
Morgantes of Karachi. The latter were the denizens 
of the tents ; subalterns from camp ; strangers in 
stranger hats and strangest coats, who, after wander- 
ing listlessly about the grove, "making eyes" at "the 
fair," conventionally so called, offering the usual goat 
and playfully endeavouring to ram the bamboo- 
pole down Mister Peacock's throat, informed the 
grave Fakir, in a corrupt and infirm dialect of " the 



Lieut. Beresford's Feat. 99 

Moors," that he was an "old muff." They were 
generally accompanied by a scratch -pack of rakish 
bull-terriers, yelping and dancing their joy at 
escaping the thraldom of the Kuttewald, the dog- 
boy ; and when Trim, Snap, or Pincher came to 
grief, 1 they would salute the murderer's eyes and 
mouth with two ounces of shot, making it plunge 
into its native bog with a strange attempt at agility, 
grunting as if it had a grievance. The Fakir, 
propitiated with a rupee and a bottle of cognac, 
retired in high glee, warning his generous friends 
that the beasts were very ferocious and addicted to 
biting. The truth of this statement was canvassed 
and generally doubted. On one occasion the chief 
of the sceptics, Lieut. Beresford, of the 86th Queen's, 
who made one of the best girl-actors in India, pro- 
posed to demonstrate by actual experiment " what 
confounded nonsense the old cuss was talking." 

The small pyrrhonist looks to his shoe-ties, turns 
round to take a run at the bog, and charges the place 
right gallantly, now planting his foot upon one of 
the little tufts of rank grass which protrude from 
the muddy water, then sticking for the moment in 
the blue-black mire, then hopping dexterously off 
a scaly serrated back or a sesquipedalian snout. 
He reaches the other side with a whole skin, 
although his overalls have suffered from a vicious 
snap : narrow escapes, as one may imagine, he has 

1 In my first account I made the alligator kill a dog with a 
sweep of the tail ; this is the universal belief of the natives, but 
there are grave doubts of its ever being done by alligator or crocodile. 



100 Sind Revisited. 



had, but pale ale and plentiful pluck are powerful 
preservers. 

Not unfrequently an alligator ride was proposed ; 
and the Coryphaeus of the party, who had provided 
himself with a shark-hook, strong and sharp, fixed 
the quivering body of a fowl on one end, and, after 
lashing the shank by a strong cord to the nearest 
palm, began to flog the water for a "Mugur." The 
crowd pressed forward breathless with excitement. 

A brute nearly twenty feet long, a real saurian 
every inch of it, takes the bait and finds itself in 
a predicament : it must either disgorge a savoury 
morsel, or remain a prisoner ; and, for a moment or 
two, it makes the ignoble choice. It pulls, however, 
like a thorough-bred bull-dog, shakes its head as if 
it wished to shed that member, and lashes its tail 
with the energy of a shark which is being battered 
with capstan-bars. 

In a moment the " wild rider " is seated, like a 
Mahaut or elephant driver, upon the thick neck 
of the reptile steed, which, not being accustomed 
to carry weight, at once sacrifices the tit-bit and 
runs off for the morass. On the way it slackens at 
times its zigzag, wriggling course to attempt a bite ; 
but the stiff neck will hardly bend, and the prongs 
of a steel carving-fork, well rammed into the softer 
skin, muzzles it effectually enough. Lastly, just as 
the horse is plunging into its own element, the 
jockey springs actively on his feet ; leaps off to one 
side, avoids the serrated tail, and escapes better than 
he deserves. 



The Waterton-Trick 101 

The same trick, you may remember, was played 
by the late Mr. Waterton (de Waterton) upon a cer- 
tain Cayman, which I have seen in the old hall near 
Wakefield. The Public, skilled at swallowing the 
camel of an impossible cram, strained at the gnat of 
an improbable adventure, flatly refused belief, and 
— said so. Whereupon the great traveller grimly 
revenged himself by publishing, as a frontispiece to 
his next volume, the portrait of what he called a 
" nondescript " : a red monkey, to which his cun- 
ning scalpel had given all the semblance of a man. 
His critics, accepting the " missing link," canvassed 
it in lengthy and learned articles galore : Mr. 
Waterton had the laugh on his side ; the credulity 
of the incredulous was much enjoyed, but the Public 
never again gave confidence to the author of the 
"sell." Never again: so he who laughed did not win. 

" Skylarking " at Magar Tdlao is now no more. 
Miyan Mutka, the Mujawir, enters the enceinte, and, 
like a menagerie -servant, stirs up the inmates 
with a long pole. They open their pale gapes and 
roar the usual hoarse bark ; when the succession 
of pokes and pushes becomes too vigorous, they 
bite angrily at the wood and, finally, without 
attempting to use the tail, they plunge into the 
puddle. Apparently they are hungry ; many of 
them lie with open jaws, and all seem to scan 
us wistfully with their cold and cruel eyes. 

We then pass the shrine of Pir or Haji 
Mango, together with the newly washed " Ziyarat- 
gah," or visitation-place. It is a domelet, with 



102 Sind Revisited. 



a long flight of stone-steps and an adjacent mosque, 
the latter, a mere open shed, crowning the sandstone 
rock that rises above the lush and straggling grove. 
It preserves its sanctity, as we see by the handsome 
modern tomb of yellow-glazed tiles, lately built 
for himself by one Jiwan Misri. More grave- 
yards and a small Dharmsala lead, after half a 
mile, to the second water : the dwarf valley below 
actually shows, amongst the tall dates, a few yards 
of short clean turf, pearled with the morning dew. 
Ascending a slope studded with tombs that cluster 
about a white building, the Nishani or Thikana" 
(dwelling-place) of the great Kalandar, Lai Shall- 
baz, we find the subsidiary water welling from 
the hill-side. The spring, a small bowl paved with 
green slime, bursts into little bubbles, and shows 
a temperature of 129° F. — as warm as the hand 
can easily bear it. The light-hearted subaltern 
of bygone days explained the phenomenon by the 
fact that the holy inmates of the burial-ground 
were "getting it piping-hot below." From the 
cactus-grown rock -knob above, we have a good 
view to the west of the " Pabb Hills :" the Mujawir 
explains the name to be a generic term for a long 
ridge. He places them at a distance of forty instead 
of twenty miles, and discourses eloquently concerning 
the visitation-places of Hasan, Hosayn, and Shah 
BeMwal. Here, through the northern drainage -gap, 
runs the road to " The Estate," a fine orchard and 
kitchen-garden, belonging to a general favourite, 
the late Murad Khan. This native gentleman kept 



The Negro Dance. 103 

on damming the Habb Eiver with curious perse- 
verance, despite repeated breakages, and, when his 
property became valuable, he died. As Government 
has a lien upon the farm, a tramway is now proposed. 
We are joined by a tall old Darwaysh, who calls 
himself a Mari Beloch, and assures us that this water, 
like No. 3, comes from the Chenab. As he cannot 
even answer my question concerning the reverence 
due to his Kashkul or begging-bowl, he will go 
away fee-less and discontented. Thence we walk 
a few yards to the south, and come upon a double- 
headed spring, whose driblets, says the Fakir, are 
hot in one and cold in the other direction. Unhap- 
pily the thermometer showed 118° F. for the south- 
eastern, and 90° for the north-eastern pool. Here 
are a couple of tanks, one of them containing two 
large and a single small alligator. This rival estab- 
lishment owns an excellent Dharmsald,, built at an 
expenditure of Es. 1500 by one Tuhdx Mohammed, 
a Mehman ; and a Hindu booth or two under the 
shady trees supplies pilgrims with the necessaries of 
native life. 

We are in luck. There is a Melo or Pilgrims' 
Fair at the Saint's tomb, and Sindi picnics here 
become more popular as Europeans' visits diminish. 
I regret to observe, Mr. John Bull, that we are 
not in the most respectable society. Our charac- 
ters will not be worth a fig if we wander about 
amongst the Kanyaris and Koblis, Anonymas and 
Hetaeras ; but we may safely indulge in a Sidi 
dance. " Sid-i," you will understand, is the Arabic 



104 Sind Revisited. 



for " my lord ; " a term vulgarly applied to the 
Zanzibar negroids, who at home call themselves 
Wasawahfli. To be polite you say " Habshi," or 
Abyssinian : so the Sidi (don't write Seedy) of 
Jazireh, the ex-pirate's den off the Northern Kon- 
kan, is known as the " Habshi." One day Sir 
C. Napier took it into his head to manumit 
all the Sind blacks, who were at once turned out 
of house and home. There was general wailing 
and gnashing of teeth ; few, however, starved, 
because life is easy in these latitudes ; and now, 
a generation after their manumission, the number 
seems to have increased. But you must not run 
away with the idea that this would be the case 
in the United States, or even in the Brazil. Query, 
would not the philanthropist rather see them die 
free than live and multiply in bondage ? 

The preparations are easily made. Fantastic 
flags are planted in the ground ; and the musical 
instruments, a huge Dhol or tree-drum, and sundry 
horns, are deposited in the shade. As dancing is 
" an act of prayer," is a prayer upon the legs, the 
performance opens with a burnt-offering of bad 
frankincense in a broken potsherd. The musicians 
then strike up, while the chorus roar a recitative-, 
tomtoming, trumpeting, and drum-drubbing, with 
all the weight of their mighty muscular arms and 
with the whole volume of their loud and leathery 
lungs. 

The corps de ballet is composed of several 
Tdifehs or sets, each represented by any number 



The Negro Danee. 105 

of dancers, male and female. They have tasted 
of English liberty, and now they are impudent 
as London cads or an ancient noble -woman's 
pet courier. At first the sexes mingle, each indi- 
vidual describing, round the central flag, a circle 
of pirouettes, without any such limitations as time 
or step, and chanting rude ditties with hoarse 
and willing throats. Then the ballerine, separating 
themselves from the male artistes, group together — 
the fascinators ! — whilst one advances coquettish ly, 
wriggling her sides with all the grace of a Panjab 
bear, and uttering a shrill cry, the Kil and Zaghritah 
of Persia and Egypt, which strikes you as the death- 
shriek of a wild cat. After half an hour of these 
pas seuls, the host of male vis-d-vis, excited beyond 
all bounds, and thrilling in every nerve, can stand 
inactivity no longer. They plunge forward pran- 
cing ; they stop short, squatting suddenly on the 
ground ; they spring up and wave their arms, 
shouting and howling all the time more like 
maniacs than common mortals. The perspiration 
pours down their naked forms, they pant and puff 
like high-pressure engines ; still they keep the ball 
going. At times it is necessary to revive one of the 
performers, who has fainted with over- excitement, 
fatigue, and strong waters. His ankles are seized by 
the nearest pair of friends, who drag him testily out 
of the ring, dash a potful of water over his pros- 
trate form, and leave him to " come round " when 
he can. The moment he opens his eyes, be sure 
that, treu und /est, he will return to the charge, 



106 Sind Revisited. 



game as a bull-dog, and dance himself with all 
possible expedition into another fit. 

Mr. Bull, and ye admirers of the olden time, ye 
classical lauders of hoar antiquity, will you excuse 
me if I venture upon one query ? When those 
heavenly maids, Music and the Ballet, first came 
down from Indian Meru or Ethiopian Meroe, loved 
of the gods, to one of the many Olympuses, and 
condescended to take an engagement with Young 
Greece, did they, think ye, appear in the primitive, 
natural, and unaffected forms which they still dis- 
play to ecstasize the Sidi sons of Young Egypt ? I 
humbly opine they did. 

As we return homewards we pass by a Kdriz, 
one of the subterranean aqueducts used for irrigation 
throughout Central Asia. It is formed by sinking 
a line of shafts, used for repairs as well as excava- 
tion, at intervals of about twenty yards, and con- 
necting them by a narrow tunnel dug, at the 
requisite depth, below the surface. Thus the irregu- 
larities of level are overcome, and water is brought 
down from the hills without evaporation or the 
danger of being drawn off by strangers. The long 
lines of earth -mounds, indicating the several aper- 
tures, is a familiar feature in a Sind, as in a Persian, 
landscape. It is wonderful how accurately the 
mountain-folk can determine by the eye rising and 
falling ground, and how skilfully they excavate with 
their rude tools ; in some cases, however, as here, 
the work ends in a failure. 



( 107 ) 



CHAPTER V. 

THE MARCH FROM KARACHI — THE MEMORY OF THE 
PRETTY PERSIAN GIRL. 

We must spend a week at Karachi. Land-travel 
in these regions requires something more than 
simple European preparations of portmanteau, 
dressing-bag, and hat-box, and, just at present, 
the weather is not propitious. I hardly expected 
we should escape in the Khamsin season, between 
November and June, one of the local scourges, a 
dust-storm. When we rose in the morning, the 
sky lowered and the air was dark ; the wind blew in 
puffs, and it felt unusually raw and searching. If 
about 8 a.m. you looked towards the Hala-Kirthar 
Hills, which spread their last outliers over the 
south-westernmost flank of the great river-plain, 
you saw a " devil," a towering column of sand and 
dust from the rocky ridge, mixed with powdered 
salt from the arid flat, flying, fast as it could, from 
angry, puffing Boreas, whom we here call the 
"Shimal." 1 

1 In Arabic the word means the north wind ; but Sind applies 
it to the north-wester, the usual direction of the north-east mon- 
soon. 



108 Sind Revisited. 



The gale grows, blast pursuing blast, roaring and 
sweeping round the walls and over the roofs with 
the frantic violence of a typhoon, a cyclone, a 
tornado. There is horror in the sound ; and then 
the prospect from the windows ! It reminds me 
of Firdausi's stupendous imagery: one layer has 
been removed by the battle-tramp off the face of 
Earth, and has been added to the Seven Heavens. 1 
You close every crack and cranny in the hope 
of alleviating the evil. Save yourself the trouble ! 
all such measures are in vain. The impalpable 
atoms with which our atmosphere is charged would 
pass without difficulty through a needle's eye ; 
judge, then, what easy thoroughfares they must find 
the chinks of these warped doors and the cracks of 
these puttyless munnions. 

It seems as though the pungent saltpetrous 
dust recognized in our persons kindred matter. Our 
heads are powdered in five minutes ; our eyes, 
unless we sit with closed lids, feel as if a dash 
of cayenne had been administered ; we sneeze as 
schoolboys do after a first pinch of "Irish black- 
guard ; " our skins are grittier than a loaf of pain 
de menage in the French Province, and washing 
would only add to the irremediable nuisance. 

Now, sir, if you wish to let your family and 
old cronies at home see something of Eastern 
luxuries, call for lighted candles and indite an 

1 Moslems believe in seven heavens and as many earths, con- 
centrically disposed, like the coats of an onion ; an idea evidently 
suggested, to the Egyptians and Greeks, by the seven planets. 



The Dast-Storm. 109 



" overland letter." It will take you at least an 
hour and a half to finish the normal four pages, 
with the pen which becomes clogged, and the paper 
which is covered, every few minutes. Moreover, 
your spectacles require wiping at least as often as 
your Gillott ; and finally, when the missive comes 
to hand it will contain a neatly flattened cake of 
glittering mud and micaceous silt, moulded to the 
form of the paper. Tell Mrs. Bull that you went 
without your "tiffin" — luncheon, I mean; — that 
you tried to sleep, but the novel sensation of being 
powdered with dust made the attempt abortive ; 
that it is impossible to cook during these storms ; 
and that if the gale last much longer you expect 
to be " in for " a modification of your old favourite 
" intramural sepulture." However, the wind will 
blow itself out about 5 or 6 p.m. ; at this hour it 
sometimes rises on the Indus banks, but on the 
coast, as a rule, it goes down with the sun ; and 
even should it continue during the night it will be 
mild compared with what we endure by day. 

Karachi, I have told you, is famed for healthful- 
ness, the maximum summer heat seldom reaching 
90° to 92 01 F., although 115° have been recorded; 
this average is some 20° less than at Haydarabad 
and Sakhar in Upper Sind (110° to 112°). More- 
over, the sea and land breezes are tolerably 
regular, and, aided by the heavy dews, which roll 
from the roofs like thin rain, they mitigate the 

1 The maximum in the shade is 117°, the minimum 39°, and the 
approximate mean 82°. At least, so says the excellent Gazetteer. 



110 Sind Revisited. 



fierce and sickly heat and glare of a region seldom 
cooled by showers. We are in north lat. 25°, just 
beyond the verge of the Tropic, where the Indian 
wet monsoon of summer is exchanged for the 
wintry downfalls of the Temperates, and yet, with- 
out including the occasional furious deluges, 1 we 
cannot reckon upon more than 7 inches annually to 
86 at Bombay. 

Maritime Sind may be said to have four 
seasons, consisting of double winters and summers. 
The first cold weather lasts between November 
and March ; the second is a break in the great 
heats, extending from August to September. This 
cool and cloudy period is little known beyond 
the seaboard, because due to the south-western 
monsoon, which the Board of Trade compels to 
begin in April. Alexandria and Cairo show similar 
variations of dry heat and damp heat, due to 
the abundant moisture of a high Nile. Finally, 
the arid alluvial soil, the gift of the Ban and the 
detritus of the rocks, breeds none of that fearful 
miasma which arises from the reedy swamps near 
the Indine embouchures, and which makes its huge 
delta more malarious than the fatal Pontine 
Marshes. 

But Karachi, like Aden, Maskat, Bushehr 
(Bushire), and other hot-dry, tropical and sub- 
tropical climates, though, generally speaking, 
salubrious enough, has recurring crises of sick- 

1 The rainfall is very uncertain, varying from 2 to 28 inches : 
between 1856-57 the average was 7 in. 35 cents. 



Cholera. Ill 

ness, and suffers severely from the visitation of 
epidemics — small-pox, dysentery, typhus, and espe- 
cially cholera. At such times she can show an 
amount of mortality which shames even S'a Leone, 
celebrated as the Dark Continent is for running 
up tremendously long bills of that nature. None 
of us old Sindis will ever forget the terrible cholera 
of 1846 1 when, despite every care, the Eoyal Irish 
(86th Eegiment) lost half its numbers. Nor were 
those of '53, '61, '65, and '69 less fatal. At 
the same time, I believe with Doctor Buez, Consul 
de France and Sanitary Officer at Jeddah, the port 
of Meccah, that the focus of this malignant, medico- 
baffling pest is the Indian Peninsula, whilst Sind is 
affected only by derivation ; therefore, that the 
invasion can be kept out by carefully-conducted 
quarantines. 2 On the other hand, small-pox is 
here endemic, and despises borrowing anything of 
virulence from Arabia. 

You have now every " strict necessary " for 
your long march : a Be-choba, or single-fly, pole- 
less tent, the justly prized manufacture of Bengal, 
which generally outlasts a couple made at Bombay. 
The two side -flaps are for your people to sleep under. 

1 This was the second great Asiatico-European attack, lasting 
from 1846-48 : number one was 1830-32. 

2 "Report on Jeddah," second edition. See also the "Report 
concerning the diffusion of Cholera and its prevalence in Europe 
during the ten years of 1865-74 ; " published by the Board of 
Trade. Mr. Netten Radcliffe's valuable paper " traces from 
point to point that westward diffusion of cholera in the Eastern 
Hemisphere which, beginning in 1863, continued uninterruptedly 
to 1873." 



112 Sind Revisited. 



Your stud is an old Arab, a veteran hog-hunter and 
a steady roadster ; also an Afghan Ghunt, Yabu or 
Char-Gusheh (the " split-eared "), as they call their 
breed of short, stout, shaggy ponies, somewhat like 
the Iceland " hross " in winter coat ; a Sanclni, or 
single-humped dromedary for your own riding, and 
four luggage-camels to carry your canvas-house 
with its belongings — table and chair, canteen and 
crockery, cot, carpet, and chest of drawers. The 
other animals number nine, viz. : " Pepper," a 
spiteful little fox-terrier, the best possible body- 
guard during our march ; a head servant, at once 
butler, footman, and valet ; a " boy " of forty, his 
aide-de-camp ; a cook ; two " horsekeepers," who 
can hardly be called grooms, and a pair of camel- 
drivers. We must also take a washerman and 
certain unclean drudges for general work. 

There are two ways of making Ghard, the first 
of our nine stations 3 on the way to Haydardbad. 

1 The following are the names and distances differently given by 
(1) the Qnarter-master-General, and (2) the Gazetteer : — 

Miles. Furlongs. Miles. 

1. Karachi to Jem&dar Ki Landhi 13 1 Landhi 12 

2 - Wat ^ » * (Si ::: ^ 

3. Ghara ... 9 5^ Gharo ... 9£ 

4. Givjah ... ... ... 12 1 Gujo ... 12 

5. Thatha" (about half-way) ... 8 4 Tli&td, ... 10 

6. Hilayd, (properly 15 '2) 

7. Jerruck (Jharak or Jhirka) 

8. Ver (properly 12*4) 

9. Kotri (properly 11*4) 

Grand total 115 6 11(U 

4 



58 


4 




58f 


. 16 


6 


Helaia ... 


, 16 


. 16 


4 


j Sonda .., 
IJirkh .., 


6 

, 10 


18 
5 


4 

4 


Aunpur 
Kotri ... 


11 
14 



The March. 113 



If, preferring water with a view to save trouble, 
we take boat somewhere above old Ghisri Bandar, 
we shall probably find ebb-tide in the Ghara creek, 
the large navigable branch which debouches between 
Karachi and the Piti or Bhaga> mouth ; a desolating 
sun and a stiff breeze dead in our faces. I have 
tried it more than once. So we will make up our 
minds to start the servants directly, with orders to 
march upon the Jemadar 's L&ndhi, or station, so 
called because years ago some native official here 
built a mud-tower. 

Our route lies east with southing of Karachi, 
over the low hills, and the little desert where the 
dust-storms love to wander. There is nothing 
remarkable in it, except that we are morally 
certain to lose the road — if such name can be given 
to the one in a thousand footpaths and hoof-tracks 
into which we happened to fall when we left the 
cantonment — so regularly every half-hour, that our 
journey will more than double its proper length. 

That pole on the summit of " Gibbet-hill/' the 
mound we are now passing, marks the spot where 
a celebrated Sindi " Wildfire Dick," Fakiro by 
name, paid the last penalty of the law for murder- 
ing an English officer in cold blood. An old hyaena 
prowls about the spot, and the credulous natives 
believe him to be the Kakodaimon whose foul 
influence impelled the freebooter to do so unlucky 
a deed. 

Observe, every one we meet is in peaceful guise. 

One of the first orders issued by the Conqueror of 
vol. i. 8 



114 Sind Revisited. 



Sind was that no man should carry weapons 
abroad. It was a fair specimen of the old warrior's 
shrewd, wise, despotic rule : tardy Bombay did not 
take warning till after the great Sepoy-mutiny. 
Large bodies of armed men were thereby prevented 
from meeting to concert conspiracies, and quiet 
people saw with astonishment and admiration that 
the personal safety of the subject was become a 
public, not a private, care. Many a Karachi-ite, 
in 1850, remembered the day when no man dared 
walk from the town to the Earn Bagh, a distance 
of half a mile, without sword and shield, matchlock 
and dagger. 

To show you what the value of human life was 
in those days : Some years ago a clan of Beloch 
had wandered down from their native mountains, 
and had pitched their tents on the plain that lies to 
the north of the cantonment. It is related that on 
one occasion an old widow sent forth her only son 
to collect a little " rhino" from any travellers he 
might chance to meet. She buckled on his sword 
like a Spartan mother, praying lustily the while, 
and followed with anxious eyes his lessening form, 
making it the object of many a heart-breathed 
benison. 

It was the boy's maiden foray, and he started 
upon it with the determination not to disgrace the 
lengthy line of celebrated thieves, his ancestors. 
The first person he met was a Sindi, trudging 
along on foot, armed, as usual, cap-a-pie, and 
carrying on his back an earthen pot-lid, the extent 



The Gallant Young Robber. 115 

of his morning's purchases at the neighbouring 
market-village. 

To cry " stand and deliver ! " was the work of a 
moment. As rapidly, too, the order was obeyed — 
a Southron of these plains seldom dared to bandy 
words or blows with an armed Highlander. 

The young Beloch secured the pot-lid. 

But the dark idea of the maternal disappoint- 
ment and disgust at the paltry nature of his virgin 
booty, and the danger of being designated a " prig- 
ger of pot-lids/' settled heavily upon the lad's 
sensitive mind. What was he to do ? Suddenly a 
bright thought dispersed the gloomy forebodings. 
He cut down the Sindi with his good sword, 
struck off his head, placed it upon the platter, and 
carried it in triumph as a " Peshkash," or honorary 
offering, to his mama. 

" And hast thou really slain this Sindi dog for 
the sake of this pot-lid, two of which go for a 
penny, my son ? " anxiously inquired the venerable 
matron, with a beating heart. 

" Wallah — by the Lord — I did, mother ! " 

" Then happy am I among the daughters of 
the Beloch, and blessed be thou, my boy ! and 
thy sons ! and thy sons' sons ! for ever and ever ! " 
quoth the widow, bursting into a crying fit of joy. 

We, however, use the privilege of the ruling 
race, as our holsters show ; not so much for the 
purpose of safety, as with the object of impressing 
upon the natives a sense of our national superiority. 
The only dangerous animal we are at all likely 



116 Sind Revisited. 



to meet with here is some native rider's runaway- 
jade. Kemember, if you do see one charging us, 
with tail erect and head depressed, whinnying 
like the Fire-king's steed, draw your revolver, 
and put the brute at once hors de combat. 

Our first day's march is interesting in one 
point of view : during the whole morning's ride 
we see not one inch of cultivated, though every 
second mile of it is culturable, ground. The 
road crosses a number of Fiumaras — the Wadis 
of Arabia Deserta — all sand at this season, and 
stretches over a succession of heavy shingles, bare 
rocks, and burning deserts, which would not be out 
of place in Bedawi land. 

There is the Jemadar's station. It is a fair 
specimen of the village in Southern Sind: the 
component matter consists of a well, a few shops 
or booths of bush and matting, where vendors 
of grain, sweetmeats, vegetables, and clarified 
butter expose their scanty stores, and a ragged 
line of huts, half-mud, half " rain-dropping wattles, 
where in foul weather the tenant (like poor 
Paddy) can scarcely find a dry part to repose 
his sky-baptized head ; " and where in summer 
seasons the occupant, one would suppose, is in 
imminent deadly peril of sun-stroke and brain- 
fever. Our tent is pitched upon a dwarf plain 
near the road, our effects are scattered over its 
withered grass -plat, and our people are loitering 
about the bushes beyond, or squatting under the 
single tree, in expectation of our arrival. There 



Rough Travel, 117 



is a Travellers' Bungalow, to the right or east 
of the camping-ground, with the messman and 
the two normal big rooms ; but we will prefer the 
canvas house to his brewed tea and his " sudden 
death," as the Spatchcock is here facetiously called. 

You dismount, somewhat stiffly. It is your 
first ride after some months, and a long canter 
is apt to produce temporary inconvenience. You 
will doubtless feel better in the afternoon. 

And now for breakfast, d la Sindienne : Bass 
usurping the throne of Hyson, chapdtis 1 — scones 
or unleavened cakes of wheaten flour, salt, and 
water — doing duty as buttered toast ; and a hot 
curry the succedaneum for cold meat or "frizzle 
of bacon." 

If there be anything of the wanderer in your 
disposition, Mr. John Bull, and I know there is, 
you will soon like this style of life. The initiation 
is, of course, an effort. After gliding over a 
railroad at the rate of forty miles per hour, you 
are disposed to grumble at our creeping pace. 
At the halt, you miss your " comforts," your hotel — 
you have abolished the inn — your newspaper, and 
your thousand unnecessary necessaries. One of 
your camels has fallen down and broken half your 
crockery: you need not turn up your eyes in 
despair ; it is as easy to drink ale out of a tea-cup 
as from a tumbler. Your couch is a wreck ; 

1 These are the "mysterious patties" of the unlearned Sir 
Charles Wood (Lord Halifax), which, before the Mutiny, served 
the mutineers like the Fiery-cross of the Scotch Highlanders. 



118 Sind Revisited. 



never mind, we will rig up another, in the shape 
of a wooden frame, listed along and across, with 
a hook at each corner, and secure it between two 
bullock-trunks. Our servants, I hear, have beeu 
fighting, as Turks are said to do : this is a real 
annoyance, which we must crush in embryo, if we 
want to live in peace. 

We summon the offenders. After some delay, 
natural to the man who expects no good to come of 
haste, appear Messieurs Kama* and Govind, plaintiff 
and defendant. 

" sons of doggesses ! What shameful work 
is this ? " 

" Sa b, is it by your order and direction that 
thy man smites me upon the lips with his slipper ? " 
asks Kama, blubbering. 

" Sa b, is it by your order and direction that 
this man calls my mother naughty names, and 
tells me that I eat corpses ? " inquires Govind, 
fiercely. 

We dismiss both parties, with a little counter- 
irritation applied to something more tangible than 
the part chafed by angry words. Those fellows, 
both having reason, as they imagine, to abuse us, 
will be on the best possible terms before sunset, 
and they are not likely to quarrel again soon, much 
less to annoy us with their quarrels. 

The sea-breeze blows freshly here, and after 
breakfast you will enjoy a nap exceedingly. 

Now, Mr. Bull, I will tell you how I employed 
myself whilst you were dozing away the forenoon. 



The Persian Girl, 119 

Do you see that array of striped tents, those 
scattered boxes, neglected bags, and heaps of camel- 
litters, in whose glaring shade repose some dozens 
of long-bearded individuals, with huge conical caps 
of lamb's wool, fierce eyes, thick beards, loud voices, 
and a terrible habit of profane swearing ? 

They are Persians, escorting one of the prettiest 
girls ever seen to her father's house near Karachi. 

The first thing which attracted my attention 
after you went to sleep was the appearance of a 
little slave-boy, who, when his fellow domestics 
addressed themselves to the morning siesta, kept 
walking about the entrance of our tent, looking in 
at times, and taking every precaution to evade 
all eyes but mine. I awaited an opportunity, and 
called him up. He removed his slippers, salam'd, 
bending forward with his hand on his right thigh, 
a respectful style of salutation, called in Persia 
the " Kurnish," and then stood up to be catechised. 

" Who art thou, son ? " 

" My name is Lallu ; my birth-place Bushehr." 

" And what is thy employment ? " 

"I serve the Bibi, in the house of the great 
Sardar (chieftain) Z Khan." 

" Indeed ! thou art a wonderful youth. Dost 
thou like goodies ? Then take this rupee, go 
to the bazar, and stuff thyself. If thou wishest to 
come here presently and chat awhile, there is no 
fear — hdki nist" 

The little wretch, who scarcely numbered twelve 
summers, looked knowing as an " Arab" in your 



120 Sind Revisited. 



city of infant phenomena, again bowed, shuffled 
on his slippers, and departed with a grin and a 
promise to return. 

Then, taking my pen and ink, I proceeded to 
indite the following billet doux upon a sheet of 
bright-yellow note-paper, the " correct thing " in 
this early stage of an affaire (de cceur), we will 
call it : 

" The Eose-bud of my Heart hath opened and 
bloomed under the Eays of those sunny Eyes, and 
the fine Linen 1 of my Soul receiveth with ecstasy 
the Lustres which pour from that moon-like Brow. 
But, woe is me ! the Garden lacketh its Songster, 
and the Simum of Love hath dispersed the frail 
morning Mists of Hope. Such this servant (i.e. 
myself) knows to be his Fate ; even as the poet 
sings : 

" ' Why, oh ! why, was such beauty given 

To a stone from the flint-rock's surface riven ? ' 

" Thus also the hapless Inditer of this Lament 
remarketh : 

' ' ' The diamond's throne is the pure red gold ; 
Shall the Almas 2 rest on the vile black mould ? ' 

" And he kisseth the Shaft which the Bow of 
Kismet hath discharged at the Bosom of his Bliss. 
And he looketh forward to the Grave which is 

1 This Oriental image may not be familiar to the English reader. 
In Persian poetry, the linen-stuff called " Karbas " is supposed to 
be enamoured of the moon. 

2 The adamant or diamond. The verses are far-famed Nizami's. 



The Love- Letter. 121 

immediately to receive him and his miseries. For 
haply thy Foot may pass over his senseless Clay ; 
the sweet influence of thy Presence may shed Light 
over that dark Abode." 

After sealing this production with wax jaundiced 
like the paper, I traced the following lines with 
an unsteady hand, in very crooked and heart- 
broken characters, upon the place where " Miss 
A ," etc., etc., would have been : 

" The Marks on this Sheet are not the Stains of Smoke {i.e., ink), 
They are the black Pupils of my Eyes dissolved by scalding Tears ; 
Ask of my Heart what its Fate is, and it will tell thee 
That when Tears are exhausted, Blood from it will begin to flow. " 

When the slave-boy reappeared we renewed our 
dialogue, and after much affected hesitation he 
proceeded to disclose further particulars. ' ' Etiquette" 
forbad his mentioning the Khanum's name ; on other 
subjects, however, the young Mercury was suffi- 
ciently communicative, and at last he departed, 
with a promise to put the missive into the fair 
hand when he could, and to report progress in the 
course of the afternoon. 

Now, Mr. Bull, be asleep if you please ! Lallu 
is hovering about the tent again, and the presence 
of a " party " en tiers — the terzo incommodo — 
operates unfavourably on these occasions. Turn 
your face towards the tent wall, sir ! 

"Well, son?" 

" I have laid the high letter before the Khanum." 

" And what commands did Her Huzur (highness) 
issue ? " 



122 Sind Revisited. 



" Hick ! nothing. " 

" Indeed ! " 

" Except that the Khanum wished to know if 
Your Worship is learned in physic, and has any 
European remedies." 

" Take my prayers and compliments to the 
Presence and put in this petition, saying, That in 
half-an-hour I will lay before Her Excellency what 
we men of medicine in Feringistan consider the 
Elixir of Life." 

I scarcely know what to do. Perhaps, sir, you 
do not diagnosticize the fair one's malady ? A 
flask of curacoa or noyau would cure it at once, but 
we have none with us. Brandy she will dislike, 
sherry she will find cold, and ale nauseous. 

I have it ! 

We did not neglect, when at Karachi, to lay in 
a little store of coarse gin, intended as a bonne 
bouche for the Sindis. See what ingenuity can 
effect ! I mix up a bottle of it with a pound 
of powdered white sugar, simmer over a slow 
fire, strain, flavour with an idea of Eau de 
Cologne, and turn out as dainty a dram, sweet 
and strong, as any Bacchus-loving Oriental queen 
could desire. 

The boy is delivering to his mistress the Elixir 
of Life, and a certain accompanying message from 
the Jalfnus (Galen) of the age, viz., your humble 
servant. If you peep through that crevice in 
the tent wall you may catch sight of her. 

Is she not a charming girl, with features carved 



" Confound it ! " 123 

in marble like a Greek's ; the noble, thoughtful 
Italian brow ; eyes deep and lustrous as an Anda- 
lusian's, and the airy, graceful kind of figure with 
which Mohammed, according to our poets, peopled 
his man's Paradise ! 

How laggingly Time creeps on ! When will it 
be evening ? Oh, that I could administer a kick to 
those little imps, the Minutes, that would send them 
bumping against one another, bow and stern, as the 
eight-oars in a rowing match on old Isis ! I shall 
be admitted into the Presence as a* medico of dis- 
tinguished fame, and you may accompany me to 
play propriety and to enlarge your ideas, sir. 

Confusion ! what are they doing ? 

The litters are being hoisted upon the camel's 
back, and that grim senior, the KMnum's male 
duenna, has entered her tent ! 

Oh, " my prescient soul ! " The Beauty comes 
forth, muffled and wrapped up ; the beast, her dro- 
medary, kneels ; she mounts, turning her latticed l 
face towards us ; I hear a tiny giggle ; she whispers 
a word in the ear of the slave-girl that sits beside 
her ; the auditor also laughs ; they draw the litter 
curtains ; the camels start ! 

1 Modest women, in Persia, when they leave the house, always 
wear the " Burk'a." See Chapter xvi. 



124 Sind Revisited. 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE LEGEND OF BAMBRA, THE RUIN — SINDIA 
DESERTA — THE FAREWELL ORDER OF A COM- 
MANDER-IN-CHIEF, AND THE CAMEL-RIDE. 

We are now progressing towards Watdji, the 
second stage, or twenty-eight miles, from Karachi, 
on the road of the Five Torrents — about which 
anon. Our diaries will record something of this kind : 

"Number two march, also rocky and sandy, ended 
at the unusual convenience of a caravanserai ; a 
deserted mosque, half-exposed to the winds of 
heaven, having been desecrated into utility." 

Native travellers, you observe, sir, have scribbled 
over the well-plastered walls, precisely as if they 
had been Greeks, Romans, or Englishmen. I once 
saw the paws of the Sphinx, when unburied by the 
late Due de Luynes, and noted that they were 
covered with old travellers' scrawls. For 

"Nomina stultorum semper parietibus insunt." 

Here also our compatriots have not forgotten to 
write and scratch many a " GREEN " and a 
"BROWN' sprawlingly over the more modest 



The Writing on the Wall. 125 

signatures, and the less striking inscriptions of their 
black and brown "fellow-subjects." 

A few of the Oriental compositions are amusing 
enough. This one, for instance : 

"Matters are come to a pretty pass, ye Moslems, 
When Christian hounds eat pork and drink wine in the 

Mosque ! " 

Some patriotic, probably " unemployed," l indi- 
vidual of the olden day has recorded a burning wish 
in th e following terms : 

"0 Sher Mahommed, 2 turn the reins of thy steed towards Sind, 
And with one flash of thy scimitar consume ' Napir ! ' " 

And a little below, fanatics — in their cups, I 
suppose — have been hard at work. One gentle- 
man writes : 

" A lakh of evil curses light on the head of Umar 
The son of Khattab ! " 

Near which an orthodox Moslem has thus noted 
his violent detestation of such a schismatical, 
heretical, and damnable sentiment : 

" Oh, base-born one, mayst thou die a hateful death, 
And may dogs make a divan of thy tomb ! " 

Watdji, in 1876, has nothing but a camping- 
ground near the banks of the Gagga* Fiumara, which 
supplies excellent water. It is fronted on the 
opposite side by the Government Gardens, where 

1 " Employment," in Sind and Hind, always means a salary 
from Government. 

2 The only Amir who showed courage or conduct in attacking 
or resisting us. Sir Charles Napier called him the Lion (Sher) 
of Sind. 



126 Sind Revisited. 



mangoes grow, and here we find the policeman, who, 
like the British flag, seems to gird the habitable 
globe. He is dressed in blue, with red turban and 
Kamarband, and his long boots show that he serves 
" indifferent well " on horseback and on camel-back. 

From Wataji to GMrd, nine miles, this morning 
— a plain such as Sind only can display. I feel 
almost disposed to point out the marks of the old 
coast, and to lecture you upon the " geology and 
extinct fishes " of the country. However, that hill, 
a few hundred yards off the road, rising abruptly on 
one side from the sandy flat that skirts the neigh- 
bouring creek, and on the other gradually sinking 
into the broken, bushy, rocky ground behind it, 
will supply us with half an hour's " story-telling," 
certainly much more rational, and probably a little 
more amusing. 

Bambrd, which some identify with the old 
Alexandrian city, Barbarei, or Barbarike, whilst 
others here hit upon " Debul Bandar " (ThatM), is 
said by the natives to be the most ancient seaport in 
Sind. Nothing of its former state now remains ; 
nought save the foundations of houses, curtains, 
bastions, and amorphous heaps, with the ghostly 
legends which haunt the deserted hill-top. The 
spade might do good service, but regular excavations, 
like those of the Great Master, Schliemann, not a few 
days of desultory amateur-digging, are required. 

Tradition, possibly confounding this Bambrd, or 
ruined settlement, with another further north, 
asserts that the city and its citizens were swal- 



Barnhrd the Ruin, 127 

lowed up in one night because of the prodigious 
wickedness of its ruler, Dalura. 1 This ungodly 
king, who is also called Dilora, Dilu Kahi, and 
Dalu Kahi, claimed a certain feudal right from the 
daughter of a Moslem Shaykh, and the prayers 
of the father caused a tempest and an earthquake 
which demolished the city. Written history in 
Sind mentions no Dalura ; but the same tale is 
told, with a slight variant, both at Aror, the old 
capital of Sind where the same king's " improper" 
conduct caused Mehran, the Indus, to leave its bed ; 
and. at Brahmanabad, near Hala town, 2 where, at 
last, he, his courtiers, and his unbelieving subjects, 
all perished amidst the ruins of that Young- 
Egyptian Canopus. The feudal custom alluded to 
was not unknown to the Hindus, especially to the 
Eajputs ; but to the Moslems it would be an 
abomination justifying the immediate action of their 
Providence. Bambra is still a celebrated locality 
in this part of the world, on account of the fol- 
lowing bit of rude poetry which the bards and 
minstrels have associated with it : 

In the days when El-Islam began to take firm 
root in Sind, and, like the glorious Tuba 3 of Paradise, 

1 See Chapter xxviii. 

2 The ruins, which proved to be purely Hindu, showing how 
little the Moslem conquest had affected the country, were explored 
in 1854 by the late Mr. A. F. Bellasis, of the Bombay Civil Service, 
and by Captain (now Major-General Sir F. J.) Goldsmid. A good 
account of their discoveries will be found in Murray's Handbook 
(p. 449) ; a better in the " Sindh Gazetteer," sub voce. 

3 The wonderful tree in Mohammed's heaven, derived from the 
Jews and the Apocryphal Gospels. 



128 Sind Revisited. 



to afford sweet perfume and grateful shade and 
goodly fruit to the erring souls that wandered 
over the Saharas of transgression, worshipping 
wood, stone, and metals, the wife of one " Nao," a 
Brahman of Thatha" on the Indus, bare him a 
daughter. She was a lovely child, but the astrologers, 
having consulted their books, declared her fate was 
to become a Moslemah, to marry a foreigner, and to 
disgrace her family. Determined to avert this 
prodigious evil from themselves, the parents placed 
the babe in a coffer with a rich bracelet, and 
committed it to the safeguard of the sacred stream. 
" Mother," as the poet sings, " never nursed Sassui ; * 
the wild waves cradled her on their rough bosom, 
and the wilder winds howled her lullaby." ^ 

By the decree of Destiny — and who can escape 
it ? — the ark floated down to Thul Bambrd, in those 
days a flourishing idolatrous city, "Mahara" or 
" Mansawar," hight, with glittering spires and proud 
palaces, whose walls towered majestic as monarchs 
over the surrounding country, and whose gardens 
bloomed beautiful as the plains which Houris tread. 

A washerman, who was plying his craft on 
Indus' bank, drew out the coffer, and, astonished at 
its beautiful contents, called to the by-standers, his 
" disciples " or apprentices, " See, men, the tricks 
of the World ; to the childless, a child is borne by 
the River ! " 

After the lapse of years, the fair Sassui became 

1 The name is supposed to be in full " Sunsdr men Sid," which 
would mean " the heard of in the world," the famous. 



The Tale of SassuL 129 

the boast and the beauty of Bambra. No scimitar 
ever dealt more deadly wounds than did the curve 
of her eyebrow ; no shaft pierced deeper into man's 
heart than the lashes that guarded her lovely orbs ; 
her brow shone dazzlingly as the light of clay, and 
her hair gloomed deeply as the midnight murks. 
Speaking in English, she was a very pretty girl, and 
made a considerable sensation in society. 

As the fair one was sitting and spinning with her 
companions at the window of her Atan, or " bower," 
a travelling trader happened to pass by. The 
maidens, admiring his handsome presence, called 
him in ; he was a Hindu, so they were not under 
apprehensions of his regards. Presently began a 
conversation consisting of coquetry and curiosity in 
equal parts. After many questions and answers, they 
found out that he was servant of one Ari, a Beloch 
chief, whose city was Kech, in the province of Mekran. 
Furthermore, the conscientious Babiho, when highly 
complimented upon the subject of his comeliness, 
declared himself an Ifrit 1 — a fright, as we say, 
— in comparison with his young master, Punhii 
Khan. 

Forthwith the fire of love arose from the fuel of 
Sassui's heart ; for, as saith the wise man, 

" Oft-times the Ear loveth before the Eye." 

Surrendering herself to the tyrant with amiable 

1 The Arabic word is Ifrit, an iambic, according to our ideas. 
The Muse of Anglo-Eastern poetry ("where Ghouls and Afrits 
rave ") has changed it to afrit (pronounced Aye-frit), and made it, 
moreover, a trochee. 

VOL. I. 9 



130 Sind Revisited. 



abandon, she indited, or rather caused to be indited, 
a note of invitation to her unseen flame, and sent 
him a present of handsome raiment — a delicate hint, 
T presume, to come dressed like a gentleman. 

Punhu, by the subtlety of Babiho, the bagsman, 
obtained leave of absence from his father's home, 
visited the fair Sassui, loved and woo'd her, and 
lived in her adopted parents' house under the 
humble disguise of a washerman till, Ya'akub-like, 
he won his prize and wedded his mistress. A world 
of happiness now lay before the pair, who prepared 
for a charming cruise, en tete-a-tete, down the 
stream of Time. But upon the Indus, as elsewhere, 
there is a snag called Circumstance, upon which the 
frail barque of Love is sorely apt to strike. 

Men relate that when Ari, the proud old Beloch, 
heard of his Benjamin's disgraceful conduct, he tore 
off his turban, and dashed it to the ground ; scattered 
ashes upon his vestments, rent his skirts, spoiled his 
shirt-front, and positively refused to wash. More- 
over, he sent at least a dozen of his stalwart sons to 
fetch the fugitive home ; and (though this is a mere 
conjecture on my part) I doubt not that he occupied 
himself sedulously during their absence in preparing 
a stout rod for the benefit of the young gentleman's 
feet. The hard-hearted fraternity, furious at the 
idea of a Beloch degrading himself by taking in foul 
linen, hastened to Bambra ; and thence, in no wise 
appeased by their sister-in-law's beauty, kindness 
and skill in cookery, succeeded, partly by force and 
partly by stratagem, in carrying off Punhu, very 



The Tale of Sassui 131 

much disguised in liquor, upon the back of a high- 
trotting dromedary. 

Who shall describe Sassiii's grief when, awaking 
at dawn, she opens her charming eyes, and looks 
lovingly, and finds no husband by her side ? She 
does not faint — Sindi women still have so much to 
learn ! — but she shrieks " Wa* wayla* ! " and wrings 
her hands, and weeps rainy tears thick as the drops 
that patter upon the hill over which her lover is 
being borne. The fresh footprints upon the sand 
reveal the terrible truth, and the deserted bride feels 
that for her there is left but one course — pursuit. 

Her poor mother reminds her of her home- 
duties : she heeds not the maternal words. Her 
companions thus prognosticate, as friends are fond 
of doing, all manner of disasters, concluding with 
sudden death : 

" Go not forth, Sassui ! to the wild, where snakes lurk, 
Where wolves and bears sit in ambush for the wayfarer, 
Where fierce hornets buzz." — etc., etc., etc. 

She merely forbids them to accompany her — they 
never offered to do so, be it observed — in these 
moving words : 

" Follow me not, O dames and damsels, 
Lest haply, when dying of thirst, you curse my husband ! " 

And she sets out on foot, alone, without kit or 
provender, for a two-hundred-mile march across a 
dreadful desert and still more dreadful hills. What 
a barbarous land it must be that can dream of 
producing such a woman ; or rather, what a curious 
state of society it is that can read so improbable 



132 Sind Revisited. 



an incident and not reject it and call the author 
"loon ! " 

The road of the Five Torrents, over which we 
travelled yesterday, sir, was in those days a waste 
of waters : the bereaved one dried them up by the 
fervency of her prayers and, by similar efficacious 
means, caused the drainage of the hills to flow down 
ready-scooped-out channels. I pass over the wide 
field of description : the novelty of the lady's feel- 
ings, the peculiarities of her ejaculations, the variety 
of her apostrophes, and the praiseworthy intensity 
of her perseverance, in spite of sun, Simum, and 
sore feet ; and hasten to be in at the catastrophe. 

Sassiii presently reached the Pabb Mountains, 
where, faint with thirst, she applied to a goatherd 
for a draught of milk. Now Fate had so disposed it 
that this wretch, a perfect Caliban in hideousness, 
had been told by old Sycorax, his mama, that a 
beautiful bride would about that time meet him 
in the wild. Seeing the fair wanderer, he at once 
determined that she was the proper person, and 
forthwith began a display of affection and gallantry, 
decidedly inconvenient, to say the least of it, under 
the circumstances. At length the unfortunate wife, 
driven to despair, again petitioned to Heaven to 
preserve her honour, which it did by the rough and 
ready expedient, commonly adopted in Sind, of 
causing her to sink bodily beneath the yawning 
ground. Whereupon Caliban, convinced that there 
was some mistake about the matter, fell, monster 
though he was, to howling over his wickedness, 



The Tale of Sassiii. 133 

and to piling up a mound of stones, a couthless 
tribute to departed purity and loveliness. 

As usually happens, or is made to happen in 
such cases, Punhu, who had slipped away from the 
grim fraternity, arrived at the identical spot of his 
wife's vivi-sepulture, shortly after the cairn had been 
built. Suddenly he hears a voice from below — he 
stands — he listens — 

" Enter boldly, my Punhu ; think not to find a narrow bed. 
Here gardens bloom, and flowers shed sweetest savour ; 
Here are fruits, and shades, and cooling streams, 
And the Apostle's light pours through our abode, 
Banishing from its limits death and decay. " x 

Can he refuse to comply with the last request? 
Ah no ! 

" Not such his faith, not such his love." 

He prayed, and was swallowed up, and became a 

saint accordingly. 

Look at that unhappy hole : it is Bandar Ghara. 2 
The dirty heap of mud-and-mat hovels that 

forms the native village is built upon a mound, the 

1 These lines contain the popular superstitions upon the subject 
of the Faithful that die in the odour of sanctity. Their graves are 
wide and light, rather pleasant places than otherwise, and their 
bodies are not really dead and liable to decay, like those of ordinary 
mortals. No true Moslem doubts for a moment that his Apostle's 
corpse, were the tomb opened, would appear exactly as it did in life. 
The "tale of true love" is also based upon the Sufi idea that 
the sentiment sanctifies the lovers, because it is an earthly copy 
of the Soul yearning for the Creator. 

2 In Sindhi, Gharo ; the terminal o, as in Gujr^ti and Rom- 
many (Gipsy), taking the place of the Hindustani a. It means 
a deserted branch of the Indus generically. 



134 Sind Revisited. 



debris of former Gharas, close to a salt-water creek, 
bone-dry in March, which may or may not have 
been the " western outlet of the Indus in Alexander's 
time." 1 All around it lies a 

" Windy sea of land : " 

a waste of salt flat, barren rock, and sandy plain, 
where eternal sea-gales blow up and blow down a 
succession of hillocks, warts upon the foul face of 
the landscape, stretching far, far away, in all the 
regular irregularity of desolation. 

You see the Travellers' Bungalow standing where 
once was a tall, dense inclosure of bright-green milk- 
bush ; and you may still trace the foundations of 
the Sepoy lines which we of the 18th Bombay N.I. 
built in the year 1844. Our predecessors had not 
dreamt of barracks or bungalows, because they knew 
that their time of field-service in Sind was ended ; 
but we, who had four or five years of it in prospect, 
found ourselves in a different position. 

In this part of the Unhappy Valley, sir, the 
summer heat often reaches 117°; for a tent add 
perhaps 7°. 

Now, 124° or 125° of Fahrenheit, lasting, mind 
you, for months together, is exceedingly likely to 
hurry and hustle one half- roasted into one's hot 
grave. However strong a man may be, his eyes 
burn, his ears sing, and his brain turns dizzy under 
the infliction : sleepless, appetiteless, spiritless, and 

1 It may have been a " western outlet of the Indus," but 
certainly not "in Alexander's time." See Chapter xxviii. 



Memories of Ghdrd. 135 

half- speechless, he can hardly be said to live : at 
the end of the season, if he reaches it, looking at his 
face, you would pronounce him to be in a " galloping 
consumption.' ' 

Build or burn, then, was our dilemma. The 
only chance of saving health — a soldier's all in all — 
was to house ourselves. But there lay the difficulty. 

It was possible, in those days, to live upon one's 
pay and allowances ; so many a papa who was 
liberal to a son in one of the home regiments pooh- 
pooh'd the idea of sending a pice per annum to 
one in the Company's service. And the Conqueror 
of Sind had been pleased to issue one of his violent 
and eccentric orders against debt. It was offensive, 
withal, pretending to teach us that a master who 
robs his men of their wages in order to give 
champagne " tiffins " to his friends is not acting 
like an officer and a gentleman. We were by no 
means grateful for such simple commentaries on the 
laws of honour, and we — the impecunious — were put 
upon our mettle ; so I, as well as other subs., spent 
a hot-season-and-a-half under a subaltern's tent. 
None of us died, because we were seasoned vessels ; 
but imagine, if you can, the salamander-life we 
were compelled to lead. And there, on the border 
of the Gh&ra creek, lies the old village which saw 
so many of our " little games." Still the same heap 
of clay-hovels, likest an African termite-hill, with 
its garnishing of dry thorns artlessly disposed as the 
home of a nest-building ape. How little it has 
changed, how much have we ! But chut ! The 



136 Sind Revisited. 



wisdom of youth is to think of, the wisdom of 
mature age is to avoid dwelling upon, Self. 

You had better mount your dromedary, for the 
first time, on this morning's sandy march of six miles. 
You need not be afraid of approaching a quiet 
beast ; only do not get into the habit of walking 
carelessly within reach of camels' tusks and hind 
legs. The kick is awful, so is the bite : the brutes 
hold like bull-dogs and, with the leverage afforded 
by their long pliable necks they can twist your arm 
off in a minute. It is a turkey-cock against a 
chicken. 

Before throwing your leg over the framework of 
wood, padded and covered with a thickly quilted, 
gaudy- coloured, silk -cushion acting saddle, shake 
the bells that garnish your animal's necklace of blue 
beads — a talisman against the malocchio — and give 
it a bit of biscuit. If you startle it when mount- 
ing, it is very apt to convert the squatting into a 
standing position with a suddenness by no means 
pleasant. There, you are on now ! Hold the nose- 
string lightly ; give head, and after once putting it 
in the right path, let it do what it pleases. 

My first ride was not such a pleasant one as 
yours, partly my own fault for mounting a baggage- 
camel. After considerable difficulty in getting on 
the roaring, yelling beast, I found it necessary to 
draw my sword, and prick its nose, each time that 
member crept round disagreeably near my foot. 
Finding all efforts to bite me unavailing, the beast 
changed tactics, and made for every low thorn-tree, 



The Camel-Ride. 137 

as close to the trunk as possible, in the hope of 
rubbing off the rider. This exercise was varied by 
occasionally standing still for half an hour, in spite 
of all the persuasive arguments in the shape of heels, 
whip, and point with which I plied the stubborn 
flanks. Then it would rush forward, as if momen- 
tarily making up its mind to be good. At last my 
" Desert Craft " settled upon the plan of running 
away, arched its long bowsprit till its head was 
almost in contact with mine, and in this position 
indulged in a scudding canter. The pace felt 
exactly like that of a horse taking a five-barred 
gate every second stride. 

Fortunately for me the road was perfectly level. 

Presently snap went the nose-string ! My 
amiable monture shook its head once or twice, 
snorted a little blood from its nostril, slackened 
speed, executed a demi-volte, and turned deliberately 
toward the nearest jungle. 

Seeing a swamp before us, and knowing that 
a certain " spill" was in prospect (these beasts 
always tumble down, and often split their stomachs 
on slippery mud), I deliberated for a moment whether 
I should try to chop my property's head open, or 
jump off its back, risking the consequences, or keep 
my seat till it became no longer tenable. And my 
mind was still in doubt when,* after sliding two 
or three yards over the slimy mire, the brute fell 
plump upon its sounding side. 

Somehow or other the Arabs' superstition about 
the so-called " patient camel '' is not without 



138 Sind Revisited, 



foundation ; they assure you that no man was ever 
killed by a fall from these tall louts, whereas a little 
nag or donkey has lost many a life. Certainly I 
have seen some terrible "rolls," and have myself 
been dismounted about a dozen times, yet not even 
a trifling accident occurred. The cause, of course, 
is that the beast breaks the fall by slipping down 
on its knees. 

Should, however, your dromedary, when trotting 
high at the rate of ten or eleven miles the hour, 
happen to plant its foot upon the stump of a tree, 
or to catch in a bandicoot's hole, it might so be 
that, after a flight of a few yards, you would reach 
terra jirma with an impetus calculated to put the 
Arab proverb out of joint. Still, remember, there is a 
knack in falling, as Mr. Assheton Smith knew. You 
may let a corpse drop from a height of twenty feet 
without breaking the smallest bone, and a drunken 
man, after tumbling from the gallery of a theatre, 
will, perhaps, walk quietly home. So, also, you 
may roll off your camel with as little injury as a 
sack of wheat would incur, if you only have the 
presence of mind not to catalepse your members. 
Let every limb be lax and bending : it is by the 
strong muscles being in a state of convulsive rigidity 
that compound fractures are caused. 

The " Ship of the Desert " is the reindeer of the 
Sindis, an animal of many uses. They drink the 
milk: it tastes rather salt and thin at first, but 
the palate soon becomes accustomed to it ; they 
make butter of it, and they use it for confectionary. 



Camels, 139 

The flesh of the camel-colt is considered a kind 
of religious meat : it is infinitely superior to 
horseflesh, and reminds one not a little of coarse 
veal. 

Thousands of Sindis do nothing but rear camels ; 
in the districts where tamarisk and mimosa abound, 
the country is covered with their straggling herds ; 
and some tribes — the Jats, for instance — live by prac- 
tising farriery, if I may so call it. There are about 
fifteen breeds peculiar to the province ; the best, 
however, are imported. The small, stout, shaggy 
animals, regular camel-Shetlands, come from Maskat 
and Mekran ; the tall, large, white dromedaries from 
Jaysalmir ; the " Bukhti," a dark, short-legged, 
shaggy, lion-maned, two-humped beast, the cart- 
horse of the species, from Persia, Balkh (Bactria), 
and Bokhara. Under the native princes this branch 
of the import trade was much encouraged, and 50Z- 
was not an unusual price for a noted Sandni, or 
riding- cam el — in fact, the dromedary, which, as the 
world now know, means a " runner." 1 

These animals are not taught in Sind to pull. 
In the Bengal Presidency they have been trained to 
draw guns, and did excellent service in the north- 
western parts of India, where the deep and sandy 
roads punished the artillery horses and bullocks 
severely. I have seen them also harnessed to carts 
in Egypt — by Frenchmen, not by Egyptians. For 
carrying burdens they are invaluable. They will 

1 " Camelus dromedarius," applied exclusively to the one-humped 
variety, has misled, and still misleads, many who should know better. 



140 Sind Revisited. 



travel for months together when laden lightly, say up 
to two hundred pounds, if allowed sufficient time to 
forage for their scanty food in the woods ; and never 
halted, as well as never hurried, on the line of 
march. Whilst travelling, each has one pound of 
barley per diem, reduced to flour, kneaded with 
water, and made into lumps, which are thrust down 
the throat ; the Persians call this ration " Nawaleh." 
When severe work is in prospect, the camel-men 
sometimes add a little intoxicating hemp, mixed 
with clarified butter. Our ruinous losses in com- 
missariat camel-flesh have mainly been occasioned 
by neglecting these precautions : to which may be 
added our utter ignorance of the animal's many and 
various diseases. On one occasion I saw a friend 
administer a bottle of cognac to a favourite Sdndni 
by way of curing a stomach-ache. The dose did so 
most effectually, for the dosed died, drunk as drunk 
could be, half an hour afterwards. 

In this province camels are never taught to 
canter or gallop, as in Arabia and Belochistan. 
A well-trained dromedary's trot is by no means 
disagreeable ; any other pace feels as if you were 
riding two animals at once. Where a pocket- 
compass or a sextant is the only instrument which 
a traveller can safely use, the camel acts admirably 
as a perambulator. The result of my many obser- 
vations was that the animal in Sind, when treading 
on level ground, not rough or stony, takes per second 
one step, exactly equal to a yard ; that is to say, 3600 
yards, or two statute miles and eighty yards per hour. 



The Camel-Paces. 141 

My calculation agrees precisely with that of Volney. 
Burnes estimates 3700 yards, when marching over 
soft and sandy soils ; this is probably correct ; but 
I doubt that a string of camels generally moves so 
fast as 3833 yards per hour, as in one part of his 
Travels he computes them to do. Captain Burnaby 
says two miles and three quarters : the general mean 
of travellers ranges between two miles and two and 
a half. 

That half-deserted, ruinous-looking village is 
Gujah or Giijo, some twelve miles from Gh^ra. It 
had an old mud mosque, used like an Iceland 
" Kirkju " (church) by travellers, but as the place 
was full of natives, arid consequently in the last 
state of filth, we usually camped under yon cool- 
looking fragrant mango-tope. 1 It also contained a 
celebrated Sayyid, a gentleman of the blood holy, 
very polygamous and very unapproachable. 

1 Tope is the Anglo-Indian name for a tuft of trees, particularly 
mangoes. 



142 Sind Revisited. 



CHAPTEE VII. 

THATHA AND ITS HOLY HILL. 

Nagar, everywhere pronounced " Nangar," Thathd, 
the city, par excellence, is a place of many lions. 
For the convenience of sight-seeing we will deposit 
our Penates near that bit of water which skirts the 
foot of the Mekli Hills, about a mile south-east of 
the town. We now stand nearly sixty miles from 
Karachi, and six above the delta-apex where the 
Sita (Satd), or eastern, and the Bhaga>, or western, 
branches fork. The situation is evidently im- 
portant, and perhaps the old emporium may still 
see good times. Some have identified it with 
Alexander's Pattala, chiefly, it would appear, from 
a faint and fanciful verbal likeness ; but it was 
built in a.d. 1522, (Macmurdo), and it derived its 
name from the " Thath," shore or bank of the 
Indus, now distant four to five miles. 

The ex-capital of Lar, or Lower Sind, is now, 
indeed, fallen from its high estate. The population, 
once 300,000 (legend), has declined to 5,000 ; the 



Thathd. 143 

thirty miles circumference 1 (Burnes) has shrunk to 
ten; and of its. 5000 looms, which produced the 
shawls and silken stuffs, celebrated throughout 
Central Asia, scarcely remain a dozen. These lung, 
scarves, or waistcloths, of mixed silk and cotton, 
or silk and gold, are supposed to be the zones of 
the Periplus. Finally, of its 400 colleges, not 
one is now in existence. The Jam'a Masjid, or 
cathedral-mosque of Aurangzeb, dated a.d. 1661, 
with its towering walls and huge arches, still stands 
to show the ancient munificence of the Moghal's 
viceroys, but all around it, far and near, is a squalid 
congeries of ruined or half-ruined hovels. Some of 
the streets are nearly blocked up by the masses of 
adobe (unbaked brick), which are allowed to moulder 
where they tumble ; and in many quarters, natural 
squares have been formed by the simple process 
of a block of houses sinking to the ground. Each 
severer inundation sweeps away part of the suburbs 
exposed to its violence, and the rising places, such 
as Karachi and HaydaraMd, every year draw off a 
portion of the wretched-looking population. The 
last injury has now been done to it by the 
railway, as you will see on your return. 

We used to dine at the Travellers' Bungalow. 
Not that the old Portuguese " messman " was likely 
to rival Verrey ; but the building, the Company's 
old factory, had a history. In a.d. 1758 Ghulam 

1 I see no reason to reject Lieut. Wood's suggestion, that the 
ruins, extending some thirteen linear miles from south-east to 
north-west, are remains of the Thathds, successively built and 
deserted as the river shifted its course. 



144 Sind Revisited. 



Shah, a prince of the Kalhora dynasty, then ruling 
the province, gave the Hon. East India Company 
permission to establish a depot in his dominions, 
with a view to encouraging trade between Sind and 
India. This commercial connection was rudely 
broken off by the miserable Sarfaraz Khan Kalhora, 
in 1775. The venerable pile, formerly inhabited by 
Mr. Crowe, the first British Eesident, has seen many 
a vicissitude. How well I remember a breakfast 
with glorious old Sir Robert Sale, whom we sucking 
rnilitaires held the type and exemplar of the British 
soldier. The inner quadrangle, or clear court, was 
surrounded by a wooden gallery which gave the 
caravanserai no small resemblance to an antiquated 
English inn — say, the Bull in Holborn. This hollow 
square apparently began in Africa, passed over to 
Arabia, migrated to Spain, and thence reached 
England vid Galway. Intended for defence and 
privity, it is one of the oldest forms of house- 
architecture known to the civilized world. The 
chambers that looked out upon the patio were 
large and high ; many of them had been for some 
time in a ruinous condition, with huge holes in the 
threatening floors and ceilings. A long flight of 
steps led to a flat roof of cement, whence we 
chanced to see some amusing scenes. Sindis, Mr. 
Bull, sleep upon the roofs of their houses, and use 
them for a rich variety of domestic purposes. 

Look ! there is a party of " young persons " en- 
joying their favourite game with the Kheno (ball) ; 
their heads are bare, and their muslin chemises are 



Thathd. 145 

not of the most decorous cut ; they run about, 
shout, and push one another in their excitement, 
exactly like a bevy of English hoydens. 

A little beyond, a busy housewife is spreading 
the night's resting-place : a couch as unartificial as 
could be desired, being nothing but a four-legged 
framework of wood, like your tent-bedstead, with 
fine cords instead of tape, and the whole covered 
with the usual quilt. 

There you view a little group, sitting at prayers 
upon a rug : the head of the house, that venerable 
senior with the long white beard, is teaching his 
children to chaunt the Koran. It is a highly 
devotional spectacle, and the voices of the juniors 
are soft and pleasing. You need not fear to dis- 
tract their attention : none of the party understand 
what is being gravely repeated any more than a 
parrot would ; so they can stare without disturbing 
their minds. 

You look curiously at that whity-brown object 
which catches your eye in the deepening shades of 
eve. That is a Sindi performing his ablutions in 
purissimis naturalibus — still a custom in these 
regions. 

A word in your ear, Mr. Bull. Should that 
little boy with the long hair down his shoulders 
(you recollect remarking him when we entered the 
bungalow ?) come up to you, asking if you want 
anything, give him, or pretend to give him, a touch 
of the horsewhip. He is touter-general for the 
Kanyaris, or dancing-girls : as you are a married 
vol. i. 10 



146 Sind Revisited. 



man, and a pater -familias, with a character, I 
cannot allow you a " N^ch" (ballet) at a place so dis- 
reputable as Thatha\ And now there is not even a 
Travellers' Bungalow here. We find, however, the 
inevitable police-station and court, the post-office, 
and the dispensary, presided over by the Eurasian 
apothecary. 

The cool of the morning will be a good time for 
visiting Kaly^n Kot, a ruin about a mile and a half 
from Thatha\ We ride a couple of miles or so 
along the skirt of the Mekli hills, on the west of 
the city : the ridge, or ground-wave, one mile broad 
by eight long, and barely a hundred feet high, 
trends from north to south. We pass through stub- 
bles, every stalk of which is as thick as an elderly 
gentleman's walking-cane : here the blithe " clock- 
clock " of the black partridge resounds from the 
neighbouring brakes ; the hoopoo trots before us 
in fun ; the lark hardly rises from the path ; the 
jackdaw-like crow scans us curiously, and the 
wild pigeon darts across the line ; the tittara, 
or gray partridge, rises in coveys from the wayside; 
every now and then a timid hare, scarcely bigger 
than a small tom-cat, flies from our approach ; or a 
fat jackal, returning from making a night of it, 
stands to look at us cunningly and officiously, as 
if he were the paid spy of the animal creation. 

Kaly&n Kot, meaning in Sanskrit "Fort Pros- 
perity/' was whilome a place of fame. Our fellow- 
countrymen describe it as an " immense camp, said 
to be the work of Alexander the Great : " the people 



Kalydn Kot. 147 



have a tradition that it is the feat of fairy hands. 
Sir A. Burnes and Lieut. Wood incorrectly write 
and translate it Kullan Kot, the "Large Fort:" 
the Moslems call it Toghlakdbdd ; but none of 
them ever dreamt of connecting it with the Mace- 
donian. Its appearance belongs to an age ante- 
rior to the general use of gunpowder: the round 
towers, of mud, revetted with kiln -burnt brick, 
which break the line of the outer curtain, are, 
you see, within easy bow- shot of one another. 
The enceinte contains a vast raised platform, a 
parallelogrammic terre pleine, for which the large 
tank below the ruins was probably excavated. 
Within, where masses of masonry, shaken by 
Time or Pluto, have fallen into fantastic shapes 
resembling at a distance huge red rocks, there 
is Sindian desolation : a hard surface of dry 
r Kahgil," adobe, or unburned clays, thickly sown 
with bits of vitrified brick and tile, a broken wall 
or two, and a domed tomb converted by the 
pigeons into a dovecot : by these things we know 
that man has been there. 

Riding along the crest of the hill towards our 
tents, we pass over the spot where the unfortunate 
22nd and 26th Eegiments, Native Infantry, were 
stationed when Bombay first occupied the country. 
After a few months, they were disorganized and 
nearly destroyed by the fatal miasma of the plains. 
One of these corps had 1576 cases treated in hos- 
pital between August and January of the same year. 
Every scrap of building has disappeared : in Lower 



148 Sind Revisited. 



Sind such materials, especially wood, are too 
precious to continue long unappropriated. But 
we can trace the foundations of the lines, and 
the ditches that surrounded them ; probably they 
will last out the century. There is so little rain, 
that it takes many a season to obliterate deep 
marks from the hard, gravelly soil. 

And now for the great lion of Thatha\ 
The " cities of the dead," I may observe, are 
the only populous places in Young Egypt. Many 
of the principal settlements must contain their 
hundreds of thousands : and these are never re- 
opened for lodging new arrivals. The reason of 
the crowding is that the people, being divided into 
clans, are fond of burying their relations together : 
thereby the departed souls have the benefit of 
" spiritual confabulation," and the survivors have 
no difficulty to find out the grave over which they 
wish to chaunt the Koran or to recite supereroga- 
tory prayers. Ghostly benefit is also to be derived 
by sleeping in the neighbourhood of some holy 
man. The practice has its sentimental side, but 
the demerits are greater than the merits. At this 
moment (March, 1876) we are threatened with an 
attack of real Plague from the Persian Gulf, where 
such interment has made Kerbela" a focus of infection. 
This spot, as the first coup d'ceil must convince 
you, is one of peculiar sanctity. In a.d. 1500, Jam 
Tamachi, the Sammah Prince (about whom pre- 
sently), by order of a distinguished saint, built a 
mosque upon the hills which he called Mekli, or 



The Meldi Hills. 149 

rather Mahhali, " Mecca-like," for virtue and 
sanctity ; * and directed that thenceforward this 
should be the holy locale, in supersession of Pir 
Pattah 2 on the Bhagar Creek, formerly the pet 
Pere Lachaise of defunct Sindis. 

Presently another distinguished saint, Miyan 
Maluk, discovered, by the following peculiar test, 
that the Mekli hills had, in the olden time, been 
honoured by the revered presence of Hasan and 
Hosayn, the grandsons of Mohammed. An igno- 
rant goatherd was in the habit of driving his 
flock over the rocks, and every day he observed, 
with increasing astonishment, that the animals 
studiously avoided planting hoof upon a certain 
place. The next thing in due order was a vision, 
which the seer did not quite understand, but which, 
when communicated by him to two learned and 
pious individuals, caused them to perform their 
orisons with such fervour, that neither they nor 
others could question the preternatural nature and 
origin of the " unction." They marked out the spot 
with stones ; a governor of Thatha walled it round, 
another built a grand dome over it, and thus it 
gradually rose to the dizziest height of sanctity. 

Men hastened to be interred on the Mekli hills ; 

1 Munshi Lutfullah's Autobiography (p. 283) derives the name 
from a fishwoman who lived here before the city was built. 

2 Murray's Handbook (pp. 482-83) says that the abolished 
cemetery was Pir Pan j ah, ten miles south of the present town, 
and suggests that it deserves to be "worthily described." Nor can 
I explain what the writer means (page 481) by " a range running 
from west to north." 



150 Sind Revisited. 



it is calculated that the burial-ground contains, 
within its six square miles, not less than a million 
of tombs. Saints and santons to the number of three 
thousand — seventy-four of them immortal names in 
Sindi story, but very uninteresting ones to you, sir — 
there depositing their venerable mould, increased 
its value as a cemetery to a prodigious extent. 
Like the stony-hearted Kevin, who obtained from 
Heaven that all buried within the compass of the 
Seven Churches shall be saved on the Day of 
Judgment, their Moslem Holinesses obtained per- 
mission, when they shall rise again, to carry the 
bit of hill bodily, contents and all, into the Courts 
of Paradise. No wonder that it was and is con- 
sidered a luxury to be inhumed in such a locality ; 
no wonder that people were and are made to pay 
for it ! ' 

From a distance the effect of the scene is 
imposing. The summit of the rocky ridge that 
looks eastward upon the city of Thatha is crowned 
by an immense Id-gah, where public prayers are 
recited on the two great festivals of the Moslem year, 
called the Ids. It is the usual long wall; with a low 
flight of steps leading to the central niche, where the 
preacher stands, and with tall slender minarets of 
elegant form springing from either extremity. As 
the inscription shows, Yiisuf Khan, Governor of 
Sind, built it in a.h, 1043-1633. Behind the 
Id-gah rises an infinite variety of mausolea and 

1 Yet Captain Hamilton, in 1699, found only forty-two " fine 
large tombs, which, from the plain, appeared to be a small town." 
One of them had cost two " lack of rupees," then worth £25,000. 



The Mehli Cemetery. 151 



sepulchres, many ruined by the earthquake s shock, 
more crumbling to decay beneath the "winnowing 
wings of Time ; ' a few, and but very few, pre- 
served by the pious hands of descendants and disci- 
ples. Vaulted domes, arches, and towers ; porticos, 
gateways, and colonnades, rise in long succession 
above shapeless heaps and mounds, whose remains no 
ivy, loved of Bacchus, 1 invests with its green winding- 
sheet. The piles of stone are naked, desolate, and 
unaltered, as on the day when they sank to earth ; 
here and there a tuft of parched-up grass and a 
thorny tree bowed by the winds and bare of leaves, 
adding desolation to the desolate spectacle. Many 
of the edifices, the tombs of Amirs, Jams, and 
Sayyids, must have been the labour of years and 
years. In some the cupola, surrounded by a ring 
of smaller domes, rests upon a single or a double 
colonnade, enclosing a gallery and platform, broken 
by pointed arches in each of the four fronts ; others 
are girt by lofty stone walls, forming square court- 
yards, with gates leading to the different doorways. 
Some consist of heavy marble canopies, supported 
by light fantastic columns, and sheltering a parallel 
line of tombstones ; and many are built of coloured 
and glazed Dutch tile and brick, which, by-the-by, 
might rival those of old Rome. No chiselled stone 
could have a sharper edge or a truer form : so 
carefully is the material mixed and burned, that 
it rings like metal, and breaks almost as clean as 

1 The historians of Alexander remark the absence of ivy, with 
one exception, in these regions. 



152 Sind Revisited. 



glass. When stained and glazed, they look as if 
enamelled; and nothing can be richer than the 
appearance of the inscriptions, in large white letters 
upon a dark purple ground. They were probably 
made by Bersian bricklayers, who are celebrated 
throughout the East for their skill in this craft. 
The gaudy " Chini Gumbaz," (porcelain domes) 
as they are called at Haydar^bad, in the Dekhan, 
have more the appearance of pleasure-houses than 
mansions of the dead, as they stand out bright and 
singular from the general expression of monotonous 
melancholy ; whilst upon all pours down the gay 
radiance of an Eastern sun, and the azure reflection 
of a cloudless sky, its hues of undying brightness 
contrasting tritely, yet how impressively, with the 
transitory memorials of earthly splendour ! 

We pass over the hill. Every now and then 
some strolling Fakir, grim as the ruins amidst 
which he stalks, frowns at the intrusion of the 
stranger, or a pariah dog barks when we approach, 
and flies frightened by the echoed sound of its 
own voice. If we enter a mausoleum, the noise 
of our footsteps, returned by the hollow ground, 
disturbs the hundred tenants of the porticos, the 
niches, and the projections of the domes. 

A closer inspection is by no means favourable to 
the view. There is a satiating minuteness in the 
details of decoration with which the tombs are 
covered ; in the largest and most magnificent, every 
stone of the edifice itself, its walls and its gates, is 
elaborately carved in relief. Your eye rejects the 



The Mekli Cemetery. 153 

profuseness of square and circle, spiral and curve, 
diamond and scroll-work, flowers, border-pattern, 
and quotations from the Koran in characters whose 
chief beauty is illegibility. In vain you look for a 
straight line ; the architects were not sufficiently 
artful to succeed in the simplicities of art : they are 
like the goldsmiths of India, who can make anything 
but a plain flat surface. As a traveller justly 
observes, the effect of the tout ensemble is an 
" appearance of tinsel tawdriness which results from 
injudicious o ver- ornament. " 

In these countries very little of " the history of 
a people is to be learned from their sepulchres," 
and the Moslems want the mania of historical 
epitaph and laudatory inscription which as often 
render our Christian monuments the means of mirth 
as of melancholy. Here the date of the " debt 
having been duly paid/' sometimes a turban or a 
name, and rarely a Persian couplet or a verse from 
Holy Writ, are the scanty scraps of information 
afforded to the inquirer concerning the venerable 
defunct. That long tombstone of white alabaster, 
under the bold cupola lined with blue and varnished 
tiles, painted with flowers and arabesques so as to 
resemble the richest porcelain, is an exception to the 
general dulness, and bears rather a pretty idea : 

" Weeping thou didst enter this world of woe, 
Smiling thou departedst to that land of joy ! " 

This is the mausoleum of a Sayyid who, wonderful 
to relate, is said to have been a Kazi, a judge, and 



154 Sind Revisited, 



yet an honest man. He died in the odour of 
sanctity, literally as well as figuratively, amidst an 
overpowering aroma of musk from the apothecae 
of Paradise. If you have any little pain flying 
about you, Mr. Bull, such as a twinge in the side or 
a slight abrasure of the skin, now is your time. 
Eub it against the alabaster (with faith, mind), and 
you will assuredly recover. This is one of the great 
advantages of having holy places close at hand ; 
where hospitals, dispensaries, and surgeries do not 
abound they are impayables. 

You may wish to know what supernatural and 
preternatural powers are attributed to the saints of 
Sind. I offer you a resume of the miracles which 
most commonly edify the mind and confirm the 
belief of the Faithful : 

Causing the birth of children, especially in cases 
when the ages of the parents render prolificity a 
physical impossibility. Also, on occasions of ingrati- 
tude being shown by such parents, obtaining from 
Heaven that the blessing of issue may be summarily 
withdrawn from them. 

Curing all kinds of diseases and complaints, 
structural, organic, and what not. The modus 
medendi is, generally, the administering of a drop 
of water to the patient — water-cure in embryo, you 
observe — or passing the hand over the part affected, 
a rude form of animal magnetism. The maladies 
are of the class upon which the hydropathist and 
the mesmerist love to exercise their natural magic, 
such as deafness, dumbness, blindness, hysteria, and 



Saints in Sind. 155 



nervous affections ; but failures are common, and 
success must, I fear, be pronounced rare and 
unsatisfactory. However, men forget the failures 
and remember the successes. 

Under the third head may be ranked a vast 
variety of extraordinary feats, such as saving, when 
invoked by them, shipwrecked mariners or lost 
travellers ; appearing in person at a distance to 
protect a friend against unseen danger ; changing 
female to male (never the reverse), seniors to 
juveniles, sots to scholars, sinners to saints, and 
Kdfirs (Infidels) to El- Islam ; saving a person's life 
by directing the stroke of death to another quarter ; 
exercising dominion over birds, beasts, and fishes ; 
causing youths' beards to grow ; living on nothing, 
like English "fasting-girls," for an unconscionable 
time ; totally abstaining from drink and sleep ; 
watering a whole caravan with the contents of a 
single pipkin ; ordering the wild trees of the forest 
to produce honey and clarified butter ; restoring 
existence to the dead ; putting to flight the Fiend 
and his emissaries ; intuitively knowing men's minds 
and secret thoughts ; compelling inanimate objects 
to act as though they had vitality and volition ; 
breaking through walls and doors in spite of chains 
and fetters ; visiting Hell for the purpose of saving 
one of its victims ; and flying bodily up to Heaven. 

Briefly to trace the career of a single miracle 
which happened under my own eyes : A boat sails, we 
suppose, from Karachi to Bombay. About the Gulf 
of Kachh (you recollect the Kanthus of Ptolemy?) 



156 Sind Revisited. 



a hurricane obliges the crew to put back. During 
the violence of the storm they were praying much 
more lustily than they were working, and being 
natives of the same village, they all implored the 
aid of one Pir, the live patron-saint of the place. 
Well, they were saved. In due time, when they 
return to their families, and talk over the affair with 
their friends, feeling that the adventure in its 
simple shape is ordinary and uninteresting, they will 
begin, consciously or unconsciously, to make it 
more presentable by adding a few ornaments. The 
head liar of the party, and there is always at least 
one, swears by Mohammed's beard that as he 
ejaculated "Save me, Miydn Mitho!" — Keverend 
Mr. Sweet, a plebeian, but a very celebrated name 
in the Valley of the Indus — the form of the holy 
man rose before his eyes, bidding him be of good 
cheer, for that assuredly no harm should come to 
him, The rest of the crew either believe the in- 
vention, or wisely pretend to do so ; or they foolishly 
lose reputation, and subject themselves to be dubbed 
" Atheists" and " Infidels " by contradicting it. The 
saint, on the other hand, when consulted, is sure 
to declare that, hearing a sorrowful voice calling 
from afar upon his name, he threw his spirit in the 
direction of the sound ; perhaps, also, he will con- 
descend to accept a little present or two. 

A fair basis for carrying weight is now laid, 
and the superstructure may or may not become 
gigantic. If favoured by circumstance, the young 
miracle grows apace in strength and station. After 



Miracles in Sind. 157 

a few years' careful nurture and consequent develop- 
ment, it developes into adult form. The ship sank 
to the bottom of the sea, whence the Pi'r raised 
it with his potent hand. Then it blooms through 
a glorious manhood of celebrity and, in green old 
age, it looks forward to being embalmed in the 
leaves of some Persian book for the instruction and 
edification of posterity. Hume did not believe in 
(modern ?) miracles, because he never saw one : I 
do not for the converse reason, having seen so many. 
And in the XlXth Century the Protestant half 
of the Western world utterly rejects and ignores 
what the Catholic other half most firmly holds to ; 
whilst the few indifferent content themselves with 
proposing a " Scientific Commission." 

By this time you must be deadly tired of saints 
and their performances, Mr. John Bull, especially as 
you are one of those sturdy-minded Northerns 
who do not require everything to be 

" oculis subjecta fidelibus," 



before it can take its seat in the penetralia of your 
reason and belief. Before we leave these reverends, 
I must, however, with your permission, translate 
that short ode which some poetic hand has inscribed 
upon one of the walls in honour of his Murshid, 
or spiritual teacher. It is, I should inform you, 
the production of a Sufi, a tribe of mystic devotees 
who hold tenets somewhat similar to the Platonists 
aud the Gnostics of your faith in early days, and 
it teems with the commonplaces of their poetry: 



158 Sind Revisited. 



the negative entity of the World of Matter, the 
positive existence of the human Soul as a Particle 
of the Eternal Spirit; enjoyment of what the 
Hindus call Maya, or the illusions of mundane 
existence, and devotion to earthly, the imperfect 
type of heavenly, Beauty and Love. 

i. 

They x deem the world a lovely dream, 

Floating before man's waking eyes — 
A dream of phantom weal and woe ; 

Unreal smiles, illusive sighs. 

II. 

They question not His will, nor why 
He placed them in this passing scene, 

That bars them from those happy realms, 
Thro' Memory's mist yet dimly seen. 

in. 

By them a thought, a sigh, a tear 

In lonely meditation shed, 
Are held far holier acts of prayer 

Then bended knee or bowed head. 

IV. 

Their Masjid's roof is Heaven's high vault, 

Its walls, the horizon's ample pale, 
Its floor, fair Nature's wide expanse 

Of stream and sea, of hill and dale. 

v. 

On flowery meads, in vocal glades, 

Where tuneful choirs sing hymns of praise, 

'Neath perfumed shrubs, near bubbling rills, 
They love to pass their similar days. 

1 The third person plural in Persian is politely used for the 
singular: "they" for "he." I have retained the Oriental idiom, 
the present for the past, " they deem" for " he deemed : " and the 
reader may consider the lines an exposition of the tenets of the 
sect, as well as the eulogy of a Master. 



The Sufi's Song. 159 

YI. 

Their lips shrink not with Zd,hid * fear, 

To taste the wine-cup's bubbling kiss, 
Nor shun their ears the cithern's song 

That brims their souls with earthly bliss. 

VII. 

Their eyes may rest on woman's face, 

On youth and beauty's form divine, 
Where parted sparks of heavenly light, 

In clear reflection purely shine. 

VIII. 

Love knows with them no carnal joys, 

No sensual sweets, no low desire ; 
They nurse its bright and holy flame 

As Guebres feed their perfumed fire. 

IX. 

Their only good, good done to man 

To harm mankind, their only ill : 
All other good and ill they hold 

The wild caprice of mortal will. 

x. 

Life is to them the arch that spans 

That dark abysm — Eternity ; 
They build not on its narrow way, 

But tread it, Allah ! seeking Thee. 

Turning tent-wards, we come upon another 
venerated locality, a walled inclosure, surrounded 
by lofty Pipals — the Ficus religiosa, a sacred 
tree amongst Hindus, and probably the origin 
of our debated " poplar." During this morning's 
ride I remarked to you some places of Hindu 
pilgrimage ; certain upright stones stained with 
vermilion, and decked with huge garlands of 

1 The Zahid is an ascetic, or rather a Philistine, to whom 
wine and music and the Sufi are abominations. 



160 Sind Revisited. 



withered flowers, upon the margin of a small deep 
tank, girt round by grottoes and caverns, Nature- 
cut in the mass of honeycombed limestone, near 
Kalyan Kot. Here, again, we haye traces of the 
same " Gentoo " ^worship, as we see by that recent 
attempt at delineating a lady of masculine habits 
mounted upon a peculiar breed between the tiger 
and the king of beasts. The personage depicted is 
Singhuvani, the Lion Eider, 2 a local incarnation 
of that multinomial goddess, Devi, Durgd, Parwati, 
or, as we allegorize her, Active Virtue. If you take 
the trouble to look into Ward's Hindoos, into Moor's 
Pantheon, or any other popular work upon the 
subject of Hinduism, you will marvel how she 
earned so respectable a title, Active Viciousness 
appearing to be the general character which Myth- 
ology assigns to her. 3 

1 From the Portuguese " Gentio," a Gentile, a heathen, mostly 
limited to idol-worshippers, but sometimes applied to Moslems. 

2 The ancient Hindus well knew the habits and peculiarities of 
the lion ; their modern descendants confound its name and nature 
with the tiger. 

3 Nothing can be more absurd than the effect produced by 
Hinduism, smartly dressed up, as it has been in European clothing : 
a system of wild superstition explained, emblemized, and typified 
by Western speculators till its very form ceases to be recognizable. 

The male Triad of the Hindus, Brahmri,, Vishnu, and Shiva, 
are merely personifications of the Almighty power, the Brahm, or 
Demiourgos, in the three several being-modes of Creation, Pre- 
servation, and Destruction : the female Triad is that same power 
in exertion; their very name, "Sakti," tells us so, clearly as 
language can. Durgd, is the active destroying phase of the destroy- 
ing deity Shiva who, in Hindu thought, leads directly to repro- 
duction, and she is elaborately anthropomorphized, or, let us say, 
made a personal goddess — now an angel, then a fiend— les extremes 
se touchent. To consider her the "ideal personification of active 



El-Islam. 161 

Yon look towards me for some explanation of 
those stones, daubed with red. Mr. Bull, as you 
may chance to repeat my conversation at home, 
I must place the seal of silence upon my lips, 
much as I regret so to do. But if you are not 
thoroughly tired of the article Faith, I can read you 
a lesson upon certain peculiarities observable in this 
corner of the world, which may set you thinking 
awhile. 

El-Islam, the religion promulgated by Moham- 
med, was, in his day, sufficiently pure Deism ; the 
Eternal Being is as impersonal as could be expected, 
taking into consideration the difficulty of making 
the idea intelligible to the Perceptives and Keflec- 
tives of a barbarous race. The Faith conceived, 
born, and bred amongst the rugged hills trodden by 
the Wild Man, formed a point de reunion, round 
which collected all the scattered and hostile tribes. 
For awhile the human stream stood gathering bulk ; 
presently, chafed to fury by intestine commotions, 
and driven headlong by the winds of passion, it over- 
flowed its margin, and poured down like a desolating 
torrent upon the civilized world about it. 

But when the excitement of invasion and battle, 
of plunder and massacre, had passed away, the 
heterogeneous mass of converts, forcibly incorporated 
with the original stock of the Faithful, found time 



virtue incarnate on earth," employing all her celestial weapons 
"against Maissassoor, the buffalo-headed demon of vice," etc., etc., 
is to graft a Western upon an Eastern idea, to the utter confusion of 
all ideas upon the subject. 

VOL. I. 11 



162 Sind Revisited. 



and opportunity to shuffle not a few of their old 
tenets and predilections into the system of mono- 
theism thus forcibly thrust upon them. 

The banks of the Indus were, in remote ages, 
the cradle and hot-bed of Hinduism ; Mulutan was 
its stronghold, and Sind was as abundant in 
Budhism, as it was in the Brahmanism that 
destroyed it. The Delta had Holy Places in 
numbers, and marks of the old religion still extend 
far westward of the mountains that separate us from 
the deserts of Mekrdn. How, or at what time, the 
descendants of the conquering Arabs made these 
venerated spots their own, history, being written by 
themselves, of course says not. Probably they took 
the first opportunity to bury some distinguished 
corpse in the place which they determined to 
appropriate ; and then, in spite of the pagans, 
connected the site in question with their own faith. 
One thing you may observe : almost every celebrated 
locale in Sind still displays distinct signs of original 
Hinduism ; moreover, the worshippers of Brahma 
have Sanskrit names for the sainted incolce of the 
principal mausolea ; and the Polytheist, as well as 
the disciple of Mohammed, continues to attend the 
fairs and pilgrimages which periodically recur at 
the tombs and other Holy Places. 

And most amusing to an indifferent observer are 
the zeal and violence with which the " professors " of 
the two rival creeds advance and refute their claims 
and right of property to the disputed person of some 
noted devotee. 



" Thatha-Worh" 163 



Before leaving the ex-capital of Ldr, we will, 
please, lay in a store of what is usually known 
as " ThatM-work," probably because made at Hala, 
north of Haydarabad. The material is a cylinder 
of BM,n, or willow-poplar (P. Euphratica) / soft and 
easily yielding to the turner. The lacquering is 
done by applying successive layers of sealing-wax — 
yellow, red, green, and so forth — to the article, whilst 
made to revolve by the lathe, and lastly, the patterns 
are punched and cut out at different depths by 
hand. This rude decoration is a favourite in Sind,; 
you will see it on the constable's staff, the bed- 
posts, and the ox's yoke, as well as on work-cases, 
etuis, and cigar-boxes. 

1 This is supposed to be the "willow" upon which Hebrews 
hanged their harps. 



164 Sind Revisited. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE CAPTURE OF THATHA IN THE OLDEN TIME. 

It is related by the chronicles of antiquity that in 
days gone by, and in ages that have long fled, 
Sind was a lovely land, situated in a delightful 
climate ; a fertile plain, traversed by the beneficent 
Mehrdn, 1 with large, flourishing, and populous 
cities ; orchards producing every kind of tree and 
fruit, and gardens that were the reflection of Irem, 2 
and the envy of the Seven Heavens. It was 
governed by a powerful monarch, who had mighty 
hosts and impregnable forts ; whose counsellors were 
renowned for craft, and whose commanders were 
celebrated for conduct. And the boundaries of his 
dominions and provinces extended as far as Kanoj 
and Kashmir, upon whose south-western frontier 
two towering cypresses were planted by one of the 
Rahis — the Hindu Rajahs of Sind. 

1 The classical and poetical name for Father Indus, very little 
known beyond its banks. So "Hapi," the Nile, was known to 
ancient Egypt as Tesh-Tesh, and by a variety of other names. 

2 A celebrated Paradise, or garden, made in Arabia by one 
Sheddad — very useful in Oriental comparisons. 



The Moslem Invasion. 165 

During the Khalifat of the Chief of True 
Believers, Umar the son of Khattab (whom may 
Allah bless !), it was resolved, with the permission 
of Allah, to subject the sinners of Sind to the 
scimitar of the saints-militant. But it so happened 
that the captain of the Moslem armament, being 
opposed by a Brahman general, was killed and, 
after much slaughter, his troops were discomfited ; 
many were slain, and the rest were made prisoners. 

Again, at the time when great Usman (upon 
whom be Allah's approval !) occupied the seat 
of power, it was ordered that one Hakim, a 
confidential agent, should be sent to Sind to spy out 
and discover the state of affairs ; but the reporter 
caused the expedition to be abandoned by saying 
that the water was black, the fruit sour and 
poisonous, the ground stony, and the earth saline. 
When the Caliph asked him what he thought of 
the inhabitants, he replied, " They are faithless." l 

Then, during the rule of Ali (may his name be 
exalted !), a force passed over from Mekran, and 
was opposed by a large army of the hill-men ; but 
the Moslems, calling on the Most High, began an 
impetuous attack, and the noise of the shouts 
terrified the foes, who cried for quarter whilst they 

1 That Hakim must have been a most discerning traveller ; his 
brief account of Sind and the Sindis is a perfect specimen of preg- 
nant truth. It beats even the midshipman's proverbial reply to 
some question concerning the manners and customs of the Maskat 
people : " Manners they have none, and their customs are beastly." 
Sindi history repeats the dictum of Hakim in modern days, 
apparently not understanding its profound satire. 



166 Sind Revisited. 



fled. From that time, on occasions of conflict, the 
" Allahu ! " was ever heard amongst those moun- 
tains. But when the tidings of the Khalifah's death 
arrived, further advance was stopped. 

Now the land of Serandip (Ceylon) is of the 
Ruby Islands ; from this had been sent some 
Abyssinian slave-girls, with many valuable jewels 
and presents for the high and mighty Lord of 
the Faithful, Abd el-Malik bin Marw&n, the Ommiad, 
and for his deputy, Hajjdj bin Yiisuf, Lieutenant of 
Mesopotamia, whose capital was Basrah (Bussorah). 
By chance the eight boats that conveyed them were 
driven by a storm into one of the ports of Sind 
on the Sea of Oman, and the robbers of the place 
seized them as plunder. When the Moslem agents 
represented to the King of Serandip that the 
property belonged to the Khalifah, he said, "If 
this your tale be true, pay a ransom and buy 
release ! ° 

In that assemblage were certain women in the 
purity of El-Islam, who had intended performing the 
Pilgrimage to Meccah, and visiting the capital of 
the Khalifah. One of these, seeing herself a captive 
in the hands of the uncircumcized, raised her hands 
to heaven and cried out thrice, with a loud voice, 
" Hear us, Hajjaj ! " 

This intelligence being conveyed to Hajjaj, when 
he heard that the woman had complained thrice, 
using his name, he arose from his seat, unsheathed 
his sword, and replied, three times, " Labbayk, I 
attend thee ! " 



Hajjdj the Chivalrous. 167 

Umar bin Abdullah, said to Hajjaj, " Commit 
this momentous business to me ; I will proceed to 
El-Sind and El-Hind. " But the Lieutenant replied, 
" I have consulted the astrologers, and they report 
that the period has arrived for the setting of the 
star of Unbelief, and for the bright dawning of true 
Eeligion in those benighted lands ; in short, that 
El-Sind and El-Hind will fall to the hand of my 
son-in-law and nephew, Mohammed bin Kasim El- 
SakifV' 

In the course of days, Abd el-Malik, the potent 
monarch, departed to his home in Paradise, and his 
son El-Walid became in his stead Allah's Shadow 
upon Earth. When his power was settled on a 
firm basis, Hajjaj urged him to renew the war with 
the Infidels, for the purpose of releasing the Moslem 
captives and of punishing the Hindu transgressors. 
So the new Khallfah issued all necessary orders to 
the public treasury, for the preparation and the 
equipment of a force. 

In one month was collected an army of 15,000 
men, 6000 of whom were horse, 6000 riders on 
tall Bukhti (Bactrian) camels, with 3000 foot, and 
five catapultas for levelling forts, together with 
rockets, fire-arms, and other instruments of war, as 
used by the unbelievers of Kum (Constantinople). 

The host of the Moslem marched from Mesopo- 
tamia through the province of Fdrs (South Persia), 
and passed along the deserts of Mekran ; then, 
taking boat, they arrived at the mouth of the 
mighty Mehran, and ascended the eastern bank of 



168 Sind Revisited. 



the stream, to avoid the host of Kafirs which had 
collected to oppose them on the western road. 
They advanced without opposition, till at length 
they saw before them, on the other side of the 
Indus, the tall walls and huge dome of Dewal, 1 
the principal port in Sind. 

Mohammed bin Kasim then directed the chief 
of his engineers to make vessels for the passage of 
he river, and to build a bridge : this was done 
by filling large canoes with stones, and by laying 
planks crosswise from side to side, after fastening 
them firmly with wedges. Then, by the help of 
Allah, the army of El-Islam began to pass over, and 
with showers of arrows confused the Infidels that 
pressed forward to oppose them on the opposite 
shore. A considerable body succeeded in crossing 
the stream ; cleared the plain of enemies ; and took 
up a position, at the head of the bridge, until the 
rest of the army could join them. 

When the General had collected his host he 
performed the duty of Imam 2 at their head ; and 
then, causing the camel-saddles to be heaped up in 
the form of a pulpit, he addressed the soldiery as 
follows : 

" The river is in your rear, the foeman is in your 
front ; whoever is ready to yield his life, which act 

1 Supposed to be the modern Thatha\ It was called "Dewal," 
or "Debal," from its celebrated Dewalya, or pagoda ; literally, the 
"house of the Deva, or god;" and the Arabs and Persians still 
know it by no other name. 

2 The "Imam," in Moslem devotional exercises, is the fugleman 
who prays in front of a family or a congregation. 



Mohammed bin Kdsim, 1G9 

will be rewarded with the eternal happiness of the 
martyr warring in the cause of Allah, let him 
remain and enjoy the honour of conflict. And if 
there be any one among you who, on further 
thought, hath not spirit to oppose the enemy, let 
him remember that the road of flight will be no 
longer open : he will assuredly be drowned in 
the Eiver, or else fall into the hands of the Kd-fir. 
So let these now take leave of us, for brave men 
determine either to do or die." 

Of the whole force, only three, one under the 
pretence of an unprotected pareut, another of a 
motherless daughter, and a third of want of means, 
left the army. The rest declared that they were 
only anxious for battle. 

For some days the Infidels, in fear and dismay, 
made no attempt to fight. Presently, reproached 
and taunted with cowardice by Jaypal, their 
Captain of War, they issued swarming from the 
gates, with horses sheathed in armour, and 
war- elephants with steel Haudahs ; and their 
leader, as was the custom of the Hindus in 
that day, carried during the fight an iron mace, 
pointed and spiked ; and with it he clove the head 
of every warrior whom he smote. After a bloody 
battle, which lasted until the setting of the sun, the 
Moslems retired with saddened hearts ; the world 
was yellow before their eyes ; they saw nothing 
before them but defeat and disgrace, nought behind 
them but despair and destruction. 

On the next morning Jaypal again came forth 



170 Sind Revisited. 



with his host of armed warriors and beasts, and 
again he forced his way through the soldiery despite 
all their opposition. At first the army of El-Islam 
became confused ; but Mohammed bin Kasim, in 
alarm, offered up the incense of his prayers and 
groans at the shrine of the Most High, who favoured 
him, and at length vouchsafed to him the victory. 
JaypaTs war- elephants, plied with rockets and 
missile fire, took flight, and in their confusion fell 
back upon their own people, many of whom were 
thus destroyed ; and crowds perished at the gates of 
the city, vainly attempting to flee from the dagger 
of Destiny. 

Now, in the centre of the Fort of Dewal was a 
place of idols, forty rods high, and on it a dome 1 
also rising forty rods ; the summit bore a silken 
flag with four tongues, the work of a potent 
necromantist. None of the Islamites knew this, 
till, on the evening of the day of victory, an old 
Brahman, issuing privily from the fortress, came 
and stood at the gate of the pavilion in the 
presence of Mohammed bin Kdsim. 

"I learn from my books, " quoth the idolator, 
" that this country will be conquered by the scimitar 
of the strange religionist ; that the appointed time 
is at length come, and that thou art the instrument 
in the hand of Fate. I am here to show thee the 

1 Probably the pyramidal " Gumat," spire or tower, which rises 
from the parallelogram and covers the holy of holies. The Dwanka" 
Pagoda is doubtless built much in the same fashion as the 
" Dewalya" of ancient Thatha\ 



Thathd Lost and Won, 171 

way. 1 Those before our times constructed this 
temple as a talisman. Until the spell is broken thy 
difficulty and danger endure. Order some stratagem, 
so that the banner on yonder dome, together with 
that part of the edifice, be thrown down." 

Mohammed bin K&sim took thought that night. 
In the morning he consulted the engineer of the 
catapultas, who said, " If thou givest me ten 
thousand pieces of silver as a reward, I will under- 
take, by some means or other, to bring down the 
flag and cupola in three shots ; if I fail, let my 
hand be cut off." 

At the blast of the trumpet the host assembled 
in battle-array, each cohort taking its place round 
the green banner which belonged to it. Every 
man stood silent as the dead, whilst the machine, 
laden with a ponderous stone, was brought to bear 
upon its distant mark ; and a universal shout of 
" Din ! Din ! " 2 broke from their breathless lips as 
the shivered flag-staff flew far away, bearing with it 
the talismanic banner. 

Again the instrument was charged ; this time 
its heavy load dashed against the dome, which 
rocked and swayed as from the effect of an earth- 
quake. The bearded warriors then drew their 
scimitars, and, led by the chieftains, moved on- 
wards in order and rank, silent with expectation. 

1 This recalls to mind the Christian priest who, having dis- 
covered, or pretended to discover, or supposing that he had 
discovered, in the Book of Daniel the future greatness of the 
Saracen Empire, admitted a party of Arabs into Damascus. 

2 " Faith ! faith ! " the old Arab war-cry. 



172 Sind Revisited. 



A cry arose within the fort. The besiegers 
turned their eyes in the direction of the sound. 
When the veil of dust which concealed the temple 
floated away upon the pinions of the breeze, not 
a stone remained visible to mark the place where 
the lofty pyramid-spire once stood. 

Again rose the loud cry, " Dm ! Din ! " and the 
turban'd ranks, bearing the battering-rams, dashed 
furiously at the fortified entrance. The warders 
and defenders of the walls, struck with preter- 
natural terror, fled their posts. In a few minutes 
the split planks and gates torn from their hinges 
afforded an easy passage to the assailants. Thus 
was Dewal lost and won. 

For three days there was a general massacre of 
the inhabitants. The victors then brought out the 
Moslem, prisoners, and captured immense property 
and treasure. 

Before throwing down the pagoda and substi- 
tuting the mosque and the minaret in its stead, 
Mohammed bin Kasim, ordering the attendance of 
the Brahmans, entered the temple, and bade them 
show him the god they adored. A well- formed 
figure of a man on horseback being pointed out to 
him, he drew his sabre to strike it, when one of the 
priests cried, "It is an idol and not a living being ! " 
Then, advancing towards the statue, the Moslem 
removed his mailed gauntlet, and placing it upon 
the hand of the image, said to the by-standers, 
" See, this idol hath but one glove ; ask him what 
he hath done with the other." 



Image- Worship, 173 



They replied, "What should a stone know of 
these things ? " 

Whereupon Mohammed bin Kasim, rebuking 
them, rejoined, "Verily, yours is a curious object of 
worship, who knows nothing, even about himself." * 
He then directed that the Brahmans, to distinguish 
them from other Hindus, should carry in their hands 
a small vessel of grain, as mendicants, and should 
beg from door to door every morning ; after which 
he established a governor at Dewal, and having 
satisfactorily arranged affairs in that quarter, em- 
barked his machines of war in boats, sent them up 
the river to Nerunkot (HaydaraMd), and advanced 
with his army by land in the same direction. 

Ht <3fe Ht Jfe Jfe 

vfT «T? <T? 'Tf 7f! 

To-morrow morning we start early, along the 
beaten track, to Shaykh K^dhan, the next halting 
ground. 

1 A somewhat similar story is told of Mahmiid of Ghaznf , the 
first Moslem Prince that took the title of " Sultan," now affected 
by a host of petty Arab chiefs. Entering as a conqueror the great 
pagoda of Dwarikd,, he had the usual religions wrangle with the 
Brahmans, who besought him to spare their idol-god. He smote it 
with his mighty Gurz (mace), when the hollow figure was found to 
contain immense treasure in diamonds and precious stones. 

After all, these Moslems simply misunderstood the Hindus. 
The latter would have told them that the idol is only the manifesta- 
tion of the god ; the Kiblah, the point of prayer ; the holy-fire of 
the Guebre, the Jerusalem of Christianity, the Meccah of El-Islam. 
A learned Roman Catholic will assure you that he looks upon a 
statue or a picture as the photograph of a parent or a friend. But 
the question is, What do the ignorant think of it ? Why do they 
prefer, for instance, one Madonna to another ? And, finally, is the 
use of the image equal to the extent of its abuse ? 



174 Sind Revisited. 



CHAPTER IX. 

SHAYKH RADHAN — FEVERS — THE HOWLING WASTE. 

When we reach Jarak, 1 then, Mr. Bull, you have 
my full permission to perform a pilgrimage to the 
banks of the Indus, and to become as classical and 
intensely rapturous as you please, or as discontented 
and grumblingly matter-of-fact — with you, I know, 
it is a toss-up which. We cannot conveniently 
visit it this dark morning, though it is only three 
or four miles off; moreover, in the appearance of 
the stream about Thatha there is little to interest 
the most excitable mind. 

The shades of night seemed to be dispersed by a 
silvery flood which, pouring down upon us from the 
eastern sky, scattered itself abroad in jets and 
streaks ; then, suddenly as it appeared, the light 
faded before your eyes and deeper darkness than 
before, investing the forms of earth, hung from the 
gigantic ceiling above our heads. This is the " false 
dawn," as Orientals call it. They suppose that 
the " Shams " (sun), rising from her nightly couch 

1 The word is written in a variety of ways : Jerruck (old style), 
Jarak, Jirkh, Jhirak, and Jhirkah. I choose the simplest. 



The Two Dawns. 175 

amidst the glooms of the nether world, casts her first 
look upon us through a hole in the mountain of 
Kaf, 1 and then, still mounting upwards, she is for a 
while concealed from view by the dark flank and 
misty peaks of the fabled range. 

And now appears the "true dawn," pale at first, 
brassy-yellow, and cold, but gradually reddening 
and warming as the orb of day approaches the 
horizon. It is accompanied by a damp and chilly 
wind, the Dam-i-Subh, or breath of the morning, 
which Moslems consider the sign that Nature is 
offering up her first tributes of praise and worship 
to the Eternal Author of her being. 

You will soon be a proficient in the study of 
" mornings and evenings/' Own that when you 
left England your mind was misty in the extreme 
upon the subject. You had a dim idea that day 
begins about 5 a. m. in summer, 8 a. m. in winter — 
your day at 9 a. m. all the year round, not with 
a view of dawn, but an inspection of the breakfast- 
table. So I doubt not that all I have been showing 
to you is a novel as well as a curious sight. 

A beautiful sunrise ! It is, generally speak- 
ing, a tame affair hereabouts compared with the 
sunset. A bank of cloud fantastically shaped, 
brighter than burnished gold below where illumi- 
nated by the unrisen luminary, and darkly purpling, 
above, lies upon a ground of glowing crimson sky, 

1 A fabulous affair, made, by Arabian geographers, to encircle 
the earth, and translated, in English dictionaries (why, Heaven 
knows !), "Caucasus." 



176 Sind Revisited. 



which softens off towards the upper part of heaven's 
dome into the sweetest imaginable rose colour. 
The sun 

" Looks through the horizontal misty air," 

slowly topping the blurred and dotted line of the 
horizon that seems loth to part with the lower 
limb ; its aspect is red and raw, as if exposed to 
the atmosphere of a polar latitude, and for a while 
it retains the egg-like form in which it first 
appeared to view. We can now look Sol in the 
face without a wink. 

This is the hour when the mighty Enchantress, 
Eefraction hight, loves to display her choicest feats. 
See that noble fortress, with towering keep and lofty 
flagstaff, rising above yon long range of buildings, 
avenues of spreading trees radiating from it in all 
directions, and a broad expanse of water sleeping in 
its cradle of cape, and promontory, and shelving 
shore under beetling bank and darkling hill — of 
what does it remind you ? Windsor Castle ? 

And now what do you see ? Three broken- 
down hovels of wattle-work, a withered tree and 
half a dozen stunted bushes on a barren plain of 
black mould, crusted over with the glittering 
efflorescence of salt. No wonder that Poesy, the 
amiable purloiner of all Nature's choicest charms, 
has long since made the theme her own. And no 
wonder that her bantlings still continue to work the 
subject in every possible form of commonplace. 

Turning from the poetical to the practical, let 



"Manna in the Wilderness." 177 



me direct your vision to that place full of low- 
bastard- cypress. 1 Do you see a pearly white drop 
hanging here and there from the top of a feathery 
branch ? It is not dew, but tamarisk-honey, tu- 
ranjebin, as the Persians call it ; manna, as we have 
mis-named it. Here the people use the " Ugam " 
or " Maki " for medical confectionery ; a biblical 
acquaintance of mine discovered that this stuff was 
the identical article with which the fugitives from 
Egypt were fed in the wilderness. I ventured some 
objections, especially a compassion for the internals 
of the House of Israel ; for I assure you, Mr. 
Bull, the effect of this " turanjebin " is the reverse 
of astringent. But my jibe served no purpose. 
He had discovered " manna in the wilderness,'' 
and he preferred throwing out the trifling dis- 
tinction between meat and medicament, to part- 
ing with his trouvaille. And he was treading the 
path which greater "rationalists" had marked out. 
Burckhardt, following Seetzen, was also of opinion 
that the manna of Scripture distils from the tarfd, 
or tamarisk. " Haji Ibrahim " is right when he 
states that the gum is called " mann " (manna) 
by the Bedawin ; but he notably deceives himself, 
and the truth is not in him, when, to make out 
a stronger case, he believes that the tamarisk 
nowhere now yields it, except about Mount Sinai. 



1 Alias Tamarisk. Curious that this shrub has been confounded 
with the tamarind-tree by so profound an Orientalist as the late 
Baron de Sacy : " On les eut pris pour les gros tamarins," etc., is his 

mis-translation of \J.lo (tarfa). 

VOL. I. 12 



178 Sind Revisited. 



These people make one lose patience altogether. 
The idea of feeding for forty years on a mild 
cathartic ! Either accept your miracle or reject it, 
but do not play fast and loose with it, nor offer 
rational explanations more incredible than the 
miracle itself. 

Mr. Bull, once for all, you must not attempt to 
ride over bridges in the valley of the Indus. Never 
mind the risk of a roll down a slippery bank, nor 
the chance of finding a quagmire in the centre of a 
canal, covered over with a deceitful crust of whitish, 
hard-looking mud, nor the possibility of being swept 
off your clambering steed by a thorny branch on the 
far side. These are problematical ; the bridge is a 
positive personal danger. 

You are looking at that tiny raft, garnished 
with extinguished lamps, and self-moored against 
the side of the broad canal which we are skirting. 
Yesterday was the sixth of November, on which 
fell this year s Diwali, a great Sindi-Hindu festival 
and merry-making. It is here the fashion to dive 
into futurity by means of one of the rude barques 
which you have just seen. The worshipper of the 
river, after offering up his prayers to Father Indus 
and to Mother Lakshmi, 1 the Indian goddess of 
good fortune ; repairs in the evening to the bank 
of some flowing stream ; launches his craft, and 
sits gazing at it with anxious eye. If, dancing 
gaily over the inky surface, it preserves its onward 

1 The home-writer will cleave to "Luxmee" (Laksmi), which 
is much like " srimp " for " shrimp." 



The Lamp of Life. 179 

career till some bend conceals it from view, he 
decides that the lamp of his days will burn brightly 
and steadily through the dark course of the coming 
year. But, on the contrary, should some angry 
ripple engulf the offering, he prognosticates with 
melancholy foreboding that his happiness or his life 
is fated to meet with many a storm. In some 
parts of Sind the scene on the Diwali-night is 
marvellously picturesque: the black river lit up 
with thousands of glow-worm lights, shedding their 
fitful raylets upon sombre bank, ruined tomb, and 
lofty grove. 

Our road is the usual style of thing in these 
regions, a collection of trodden lines stretching over 
a wide waste. We leave the silt-plain upon which 
ThatM stands, and ascend a hilly district formed by 
the ribs of limestone-rock which compose the petral 
portion of this Unhappy Land's formation. Every 
now and then we cross some hard, dry flat, covered 
with fragments of yellowish stone ; these places 
follow one another as steps ; the highest may be 
a hundred and fifty feet above the level of the 
Indus, and the absence of tamarisk and other 
shrubs shows at first sight that no water, save an 
occasional shower of scanty rain, has fallen here for 
years. 

Those tombs crowning the hill by the wayside 
are of unusual shape : small stone cupolas, sup- 
ported by four square columns of delicate propor- 
tions. They mark the memorable spot where fell 
certain mighty chiefs, doing immortal deeds in 



180 Sind Revisited. 



some petty feudal squabble. To relate the heart 
of the affair would take a Sind minstrel three good 
hours, and involve the recital of twenty impossi- 
bilities and about a thousand proper names, includ- 
ing patronymics. Intensely exciting all this would 
be to the Lagharis and Lashdris, two great Beloch 
tribes, the Clans Campbell and Chattan of this part 
of the world ; but I fear, Mr. Bull, that it would 
be morphine to you. Shift the scene of Waverley 
to Afghanistan, or let Robert Bruce become Akbar 
Khan : would it not paralyze the hand of the 
mightiest magician that ever created worlds with 
a quill ? 

" What has halted our camels at this hour of 
the day ? " 

I understand. The lazy rascals, our servants, 
preferred mounting to marching, and dozing upon 
the soft couch of Quiet, in the shape of a load 
of boxes, to doing their duty in looking after our 
property. The consequence was, that the impatient 
brute that brought up the rear of the line broke 
its nose-string, shook off its burden, and gently 
slipped away into the jungle to meet a body of 
friends and relations. 

It is no use storming at the men now ; the 
more you scold, the less they do. We must apply 
ourselves to recovering the fugitive. Fortunately 
there is a village not very far off, so we shall find 
no difficulty in procuring the assistance of a 
"Paggi," or tracker. 

The fellow rises from his slumbers under the 



The Camel-Tracker. 181 



wadded cotton -coverlet, and stares wildly at us, as 
if we were the Interrogating Angels * in proprid per- 
sona. We take care not to lose sight of him at first, 
otherwise he is sure to play camel, and, according 
to the custom of a wild country, to get out of 
what he fancies harm's way with all possible speed. 
The least the poor devil expects is the loss of his 
half a dozen goats, and a good beating for not 
being richer. That present of a rupee, however, 
gives him some confidence : he begins to think 
that we are fools ; and the promise of another, 
confirming his suspicions, makes him absolutely 
courageous. 

See how artistically my savage addresses him to 
his task. He ties on his slippers with packthread, 
winds his sheet tight round his waist, and, squatting 
upon the ground, scrutinizes the foot-print before he 
starts, with all the air of a connoisseur, making 
meanwhile his remarks aloud : 

" He is a little, little camel — his feet are scarcely 
three parts grown — he treads lightly on the off fore 
leg, and turns this toe in — his sole is scarred — he 
is not laden — there he goes — there — there; he is 
off to the jungles of Shaykh Radhan ! Now, Sam, 2 
your slave is ready." 

As we are going to pitch our tents just above 
that identical forest, we may send on the remaining 

1 Munkir and Nakir, two worthies in Moslem divinity, long 
since introduced by the genius of Byron to the home-reader. 

2 "Sain," in Sind, is the "Sahib" of India, the "Sir" of 
England ; philologists derive it from the Sanskrit " Swami," a 
lord or master. 



182 Sind Revisited. 



quadrupeds with the servants, and accompany our 
Paggi to watch his proceedings. 

Is it not surprising how he runs along the trail, 
scarcely appearing to look at it, and yet following 
its every twist and turn with the sagacity of an old 
greyhound ? 

We pass over beds of sheet-rock, almost as 
smooth as crystal ; we pursue roads where your eye 
and mine can see nothing but a confused mass of 
fresh and faded foot-prints ; we descend slopes of 
hard silt, upon which you cannot detect the shade 
of a mark ; our tracker never stops for a moment. 
The faculty is born with him ; his forefathers 
have been trackers for generations, and he tracks as 
a pointer-pup points, or an hereditary stock -broker 
buys stock. It has become an instinct ; it is no 
longer a reasoning faculty. Moreover, he has 
nothing to distract his thoughts ; he is " all there." 
Similarly, a man with one idea makes a fortune, 
where a man with a dozen sorely fails. 

Now he pauses upon the verge of the tangled 
wood, but only for a brief breathing-time, and in 
order to secure his shoe. 

"There, Sain, I told you he was going to 
Shaykh Kadhan." 

" Thou didst. Shahbash, be a king ! " — equivalent 
to your " Well done ! " Mr. Bull. " Art thou to catch 
him ? " 

" At once, Sain ; he stopped here to browse, 
and he has only just left the place. See, the grass 
has not yet risen from the place where he trod." 



The Tracker Policeman. 183 

The man proves the correctness of his assertion 
by leading us straight up to a thicket, over whose 
topmost branches appear the fugitive's long neck, 
warily outstretched, and the bright black eyes, 
nervously fixed upon us. The sight of pursuers 
seems to paralyze all energies ; it feels that the right 
course would be to wheel round and trot off without 
delay, but somehow or other this is not to be done. 
The Paggi walks quietly up, seizes the wooden nut, 
still sticking in the right nostril, and tying a new 
string to it, secures submission without a struggle. 

The Sindi is celebrated for tracking as the Arab 
of Tehamah or the " Red Man " of North America. 
He is the only detective the country affords, and he 
forms an uncommonly efficient force. If a soldier 
has deserted, a house has been robbed, or a traveller 
has been cut down, show him a footprint, and he is 
sure of his man. He will describe the person you 
seek with unerring accuracy, and he will follow the 
trail for any distance, no matter what means are 
taken to baffle him. Shoe your horse the wrong 
way, wear pads over your feet (thieving slippers, as 
the natives call them), shift from boot to nudity, 
and again from nudity to boot ; squat, stand, spring 
like a kangaroo, walk on all fours like a dog ; do 
every thing you can to throw the human bloodhound 
out, and still, if he be a well-trained specimen of his 
breed, he will catch you. I never could understand, 
by-the-by, why your rural police disdain the use of 
trained dogs. Perhaps the practice would be " un- 
English ? " 



184 Sind Revisited. 



These camels are fated to be the plague of us 
to-day. You see before you the eu camping-ground 
— a gravelly flat, bounded upon one side by a low, 
irregular line of broken and craggy hill ; on the 
other, by a rapid descent, leading to the thickly- 
wooded strip of stiff clay which skirts the right 
flank of Father Indus. You could scarcely mistake 
the place, even were I not to point it out. Look at 
the thousand fragments of black bottles, in these 
regions the unmistakable tokens of the white man's 
presence ; and you will not wonder at a cut hoof. 

We must not pitch here. The wind is howling 
madly over that platformed hill upon which stands 
the saint's tomb, but we can make the old walls 
a screen and, from behind these defences, laugh 
at the impotent wrath of Boreas, the Shimal. 
Our servants, I need not tell you, have lost, or 
sold, all our iron tent-pins, and as for expecting 
wooden pegs to hold in such a soil with such 
a strain upon them, it would be the height of 
"griffinism." 

Men relate of a celebrated sportsman in the old 
country, that when requested by a friend not to 
indulge him with the excitement of being overturned 
in a gig or tandem, he at once ran the vehicle up 
against a bank and sent its contents flying into a 
neighbouring field. 

Now, were I at all disposed to enjoy a similar 
rare bit of practical wit, I have an excellent oppor- 
tunity of gratifying myself. To see a single-poled 
tent blown down in windy weather over a friend's 



The Tent- Fall. 185 



head, is perhaps even more funny than pitching 
him out of a dog-cart. But I will content myself 
this time with sketching you an outline of what 
the spectacle would be, instead of drawing it from 
life. " 

You are sitting, we will suppose, quietly at 
dinner, quaffing lukewarm, muddy ale, and eating 
curry and dust to the sound of an aerial concert, far 
more powerfully than pleasantly performed. 

All of a sudden, cr — a — ck ! — cr'ck ! ! The 
mainstay of your canvas-abode has been torn up 
from beneath the stone placed to keep it firm in the 
ground. You spring off your chair, overturning the 
same, and make instinctively for the exit. You are 
just in time to be caught and rolled over by the 
hinder Kandt, or fly, whilst the pole, bisecting your 
table as neatly as the "Saladin feat" was ever per- 
formed, descends upon your humped-up shoulders, 
and instantaneously " floors " you amidst a mass of 
broken boards and scattered provisions, flanked by 
the ruins of your washing-stand, cot, and chest of 
drawers, and covered over with a weight of tent- 
cloth, which allows you to kick, call, and struggle, 
but which positively forbids you to escape. Up 
rushes your gang of domestics, jabbering and ges- 
ticulating, in dire dismay, for they are owed a 
month's wages : you feel a vice-like grasp upon 
your ankles, you are mercilessly drawn, against 
the grain, over the hard ground ; and you display 
yourself once more in the face of day, with hair 
a la chinoise, white garments the colour of brown 



186 Sind Revisited. 



paper, and a face which, in its mask of turmeric- 
powder, boiled rice, dust, and the proceeds of a cut 
from the broken beer-bottle, would scarcely be 
recognized by your own mother. Perhaps, the 
tenour of your thoughts harmonizes with the ex- 
clamation of the gentleman in the " Felon So we : " 

" Wist my brethren at this hour, 
That I were set in sic a stoure, 
Sure they would pray for me ! " 

Some years ago, a similar event, " ryghte 
merrie" for one's friends, occurred to the humble 
individual your guide. Substantial houses in this 
part of the world are built, you know, of sun-dried 
brick-walls, supporting rafters of Babul or Mimosa 
wood, and over these a thick layer of mud, with 
perhaps a little gypsum, is spread to form a roof. 
The material is usually composed of saltish clay, 
hurriedly pounded and imperfectly mixed ; you 
may observe that wherever it touches the ground 
your abode is scooped out by the action of humidity 
as effectually as if a pickaxe had been applied to the 
foundation. As the building, under such circum- 
stances, is safe to fall as soon as an opportunity 
presents itself, the natives are careful every year to 
repair the peccant part. 

Now it so happened that my corps was ordered 
into " country quarters " in a queer old hole called 
Mohammed Khan's "Tandd," that is to say, a 
bunch of houses with a wall round them, from afar 
not unlike a collection of Termite-hills. The " forti- 
fied village," which stood on the left bank of the 



The House- Fall. 187 



celebrated Phuleli river, was a square inclosure of 
mud-curtain, raised at least twenty feet high, lest a 
stray breath of wind should temper the burning 
summer-heat; and it contained some nine habita- 
tions, built much as above described, and separated 
by narrow lanes at least a cubit deep in dust. 
The property had been let by some native chief to 
our Government for public purposes, so the neces- 
sary yearly repairs were of course neglected. 

Kain had fallen all night. In the morning, 
where dust had been, mud was ; and our clay-houses 
were literally wet through. Not dreaming of any 
danger, I was sitting in my " drawing-room " (an 
apartment comparable to nothing but a gravel-pit 
roofed and furnished), reading with an old Afghan 
Munshi his favourite Rahman's pathetic dole con- 
cerning the melancholy uncertainty and the empty 
vanities 

"Dedadunya." 1 

Plump ! Half a ton of wall scattered without the 
least warning upon the " drawing-room " floor ! 

Pedagogue and pupil both jumped up from their 
chairs, and in hottest haste dashed through the 
" Tattis," a kind of thorn fence, and a well-known 
Oriental and therm-antidotal contrivance. We 
escaped through the door in time, and only in time, 
to see the entrance hermetically sealed behind us ; 
the lute used on that occasion being sundry square 

1 " Of this world ; " part of the refrain of a popular ode 
composed by the great Pakhtu poet, Abd el-Rahman, familiarly and 
affectionately called "Rahman" by his fellow-countrymen. 



188 Sind Revisited. 



feet of fallen front- wall. We shall pilgrimage to the 
place in due time. 

Within the twenty-four hours, three out of the 
nine houses that composed the Td.nd£ lay in ruins. 
The things melt away after a night's rain like ice in 
a London ball-room. 

There is excellent sport in these three little Jhils, 
or ponds, below us : torpid sheets of thick fluid left 
behind by the last inundation, with the bottom of 
fetid black mud baking in the sun, where the waters 
have been drawn off by evaporation. Among the 
fat sedges, tall grasses, and matted reeds, in every 
stage of vegetable existence, from germination to 
decay, we find the glossy ibis (Falcinellus igneus), 
grey crane (Gras cinerea), the stork, the spoon-bill, 
the noble demoiselle (Anthropoides virgo), the 
giant "kullum" (Kulang, or Grus virgo), and the 
flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus), who raises a 
brilliant shawl over his shoulders, by exposing the 
upper and under wing-coverts. Of humbler livery, 
but more useful, are the fawn-coloured pelicans 
(Pelieanus crispus), used as decoys after their eyes 
are sewn up ; the goose (Anser Indicus), very tame 
and stupid ; the bar- fronted goose and the lag-goose 
(Anser cinereus), the mallard (Anas boschas), excel- 
lent eating here as everywhere ; the widgeon (Mareca 
Penelope), the gadwall (Anas strepera), the coot 
(Fulica atra), and the dunlin (Tringa cinedus). The 
ornithology of Sind has been pronounced by a com- 
petent observer to be allied with Asia Minor, 
North-western Arabia, and North-eastern Africa, 



Birds. 189 

rather than with Kachh and Gujrat, the nearest parts 
of the Indian peninsula. On the high dry shores 
you remark the sand-grouse (Pterocles arenaria) of 
six species, especially the "painted'' [Pterocles 
Alchata) ; the Francolin partridge (Francolinus 
vulgaris), the quail (Coturnix communis), the sand- 
partridge, Chakkar or Chikore (Caccabis), the 
crested lark (Alauda cristata), the stone-chat, 
(Saxicola), the desert -bullfinch, and the Isabelline 
shrike. You have only to wander into the acacia 
woods that line the banks, and a herd of half- wild 
buffaloes will afford you a good chance of larger 
stuff for the pot ; and if you stay long enough 
with your feet in the water and your head in the 
sun, although we are getting into the heart of the 
cold weather, you will most probably be able to pro- 
nounce expertus upon the pleasures of a Sind ague. 
Fevers, I may inform you, in this part of Asia 
are of two kinds. One is a brisk, bold fellow, who 
does his work within the day, permitting you to 
breakfast, but placing his veto upon your dining ; 
the other is a slow, sneaking wretch, who bungles 
over you for a week or a fortnight. 1 The former 

1 This may appear to savour of bravado, in which case the 
appearance is deceitful. At a distance, Yellow Jack, earthquakes, 
cholera, the plague, the Cuchillo, and similar strange enemies to 
human life, look terrible, because indistinct ; the heart does beat 
a little quicker when we fix thought upon them. But as soon as you 
find yourself amongst the dangers, you forget to fear them, you are 
afraid to be afraid, and a little habit makes them, generally 
speaking, contemptible : you expected giants, you find pigmies. 
Besides, I have been fortunate in opportunity of training, being 
brought up, as it were, in the midst of cholera : one easily learns 



190 Sind Revisited. 



appears as a kind of small shivering, first ; then as a 
sick headache, which, after a few minutes, feels as if 
a cord were being tightened round your pericranium ; 
your brain burns as if it were on fire ; your head 
throbs as though it would burst ; your skin is hot, 
and hard as a riding-glove. Presently your senses 
leave you ; to delirium succeeds congestion ; you 
pant and puff, all your energies being applied to 
keeping the breath in your body ; you fail therein, 
and you are buried that evening. The slow fever 
attacks you much in the same way ; only it allows 
you leisure to send for a doctor, who pours cold 
water from an altitude upon your shaven poll, 
administers mercury sufficient to charge an average- 
sized barometer, and blisters you, generally, with 
mustard and other plasters, from the nape of your 
neck to the soles of your feet. 

I never saw a patient recover from this mode 
of treatment without entering into the feelings of 
the poor decrepit Hindu, who cursed the meddling 
hand that clawed the holy mud out of his mouth 
as he was comfortably dying upon the banks of the 
Ganges, and by means of a draught of " fire-water " 
sent him back to the world of matter, a far baser bit 



to think lightly of such things in youth. And every one who does 
or can think becomes, by some means or other, a fatalist on a small 
scale, after a few years in the East. " Kismet " and " Nasib " are 
so often, so continually, in your ears, that at last they sound 
themselves into a kind of reality : an entity east, a nonentity west, 
of the Cape. Perhaps I should say " rarity" instead of "non- 
entity." The Spaniard, for instance, despite his Catholicism, is 
often fatalistic as the Arab. And what is the Calvinist ? 



Solitude. 191 



of humanity than he was before, with the prospect 
of a few million years in vermin form. 

If yon wish to see how peculiarly uncharming in 
this state of demi-toilette are the appas of a certain 
romantic old maid called Solitude, whom many a 
fool admires and courts before he has seen her, you 
have only to set out with me for an evening's walk. 
We shall not meet a human being, or descry a 
vestige of man's work, in the country about Shaykh 
Eadhan. 

" Oh, the howling waste ! " 

Now let us look at its denizens. High in the 
blue air, still catching the light of the set sun, the 
king- vulture wheels in gigantic circles, and the jack- 
daw-like crows are screeching with their usual 
noisiness as they skelter towards their dormitory, 
some distant tree. The matchlock or the rifle must 
at some time or other have been busy upon this 
rugged spot, otherwise its inhabitants would not 
stand in such evident awe of us. See how the lynx, 
with tapering black -tipped ears always pricked -up, 
slinks away, covering itself with every little bush 
or stone, skilfully as the best-drilled Light Bob. 
The antelope stops for a moment, instinctively 
feeling that a foe is near ; bends her graceful neck, 
celebrated as her eye in the Arab's poetry, 1 sights 
our advancing forms, and then, bounding off, shapes 
her rapid course towards some region of security. 
That old grey boar, slowly returning from an 

1 Alluding to the beautiful line of Lebid that describes the 
antelope turning her neck towards her newly-yeaned young. 



192 Sind Revisited, 



evening excursion to its home in the neighbouring 
Bela (forest) or Shikargah (preserve), is not quite so 
timorous as its neighbours ; it mends its pace when 
we approach the line of direction, but a certain look, 
and a grunt that accompanies the glance, give us 
to understand that it has at least half a mind to 
revenge upon us the foul wrongs which its kind has 
sustained from the hands of ours. We will let 
Aper pass, if you please ; its tusks are long, curved, 
and sharp as a Persian dagger, and it has a dexterity 
in the use of weapons which renders its practice of 
offence and defence sufficiently imposing, especially 
to a walking-stick. You stand to stare at those two 
pugnacious animals upon the sheet of rock hard by. 
It is a pair of shepherd-dogs, apparently bastard 
Kelat-greyhounds : they have had some " dif- 
ference" upon some unknown subject, and they 
are settling the affair of honour with their natural 
weapons, exactly as if they were British privates 
fighting it out in a quiet, cosy way. A most 
ridiculous sight is this apparently causeless and 
yet most vicious and violent " set to ; " they 
wrangle, worry, bite, roll each other over, and 
howl with concentrated rage as well as pain : the 
apparent absence of anything to quarrel about 
makes the vehemence of the quarrel appear the 
more remarkable. 

Observe in the far distance our long string of 
camels returning after their day's grazing in the 
forest. The hazy, misty atmosphere enlarges their 
bodies to a prodigious size : we can discern no legs, 



"Ships of the Desert!' 193 

only a shoal of long necks and ostrich-forms, float- 
ing and sinking, pitching and swaying, over the 
successive undulations of the distant ground. Some 
English Eastern-travellers have opined that that 
Great Unknown, the literato who baptized the 
animal " Ship of the Desert," must have derived 
the idea from seeing it at a time when, under 
the effects of the mirage, its form appears and 
disappears on the horizon, as a vessel does upon 
the surface of a swelling sea. Methinks, however, 
the conjecture assigns somewhat too much to the 
power of Comparison, and a trifle too little to 
the operation of Analogy. 



vol. i. 13 



194 Sind Revisited. 



CHAPTER X. 

THE SEVEN HEADLESS PROPHETS. 

Instead of marching directly upon Hilaya, 1 we 
will turn off, if you please, to the left of the 
Haydardbdd road, and make for a certain fisher- 
village called Kinjara-ji Miydni. There lies the 
lake which gives it a name ; a shallow piece of 
water with reedy banks, embosomed in low hills 
of the usual uninteresting cut, and of the normal 
unpicturesque hue. I have nothing to say about 
the settlement, it being the " or'nary " Sind thing, 
which you have seen half a dozen times, and which 
I have described unto the exhaustion of synonymes. 
But you must allow me to slip in a few words 
concerning the ancient history of the place, in order 
to render what follows intelligible. 

" In the days of old, 5 ' thus Asiatic legends 
always commence, even as European children's tales 
with " once upon a time," a celebrated city rose at 
the north end of the Sunahri, or Sonahri, Dandh 

1 There are no buildings at Hilayd,, but a well affords good 
water ; the camping-ground is on a canal, near several large 
Babul trees. " Dandh " means a natural tank. 



Jam Tamdchi. 195 



which during floods forms part of the Kinjar water. 
It was the capital of the Sammah dynasty, a Sindi 
tribe that ruled the land for many years before 
it fell into the hands of the Moghal ; and here, 
about a.d. 1380, was the seat of empire of Jam 
Tamdchi, the son of Junur. That prince, the fourth 
of his dynasty, was celebrated for his beauty and 
valour ; his open hand, like the warm showers of 
spring, made the hearts of his subjects expand, and 
his clenched fist, 1 like the icy breath of the Destroyer, 
paled the cheeks of his rivals and his foes. He was 
truly the Shadow of Allah cast upon earth's face. 
He sat on the cushion of sovereignty, firm as the 
tall hill that spreads out its giant skirts over the 
subject plain : both the storms of foreign war and 
the shocks of internal disturbance were equally un- 
availing to shake the foundations of his prosperity. 

In the fifth year of the magnificent Jam 
Tamdchi's reign, Shaykh Baha" el-Din, 2 the majestic 
saint of MuMn, being urgently invited by his dis- 
ciples at Thatha* to grace with his presence the happy 
land of Sind, was induced to comply with their 
prayer. To such an extent did he delight men's 
minds by his spirit-stirring words and deeds, that 
the said disciples (may their and their father's graves 
be desert !) abominably resolved to kill him and eat 

1 In Persian metaphorology the open hand is the symbol of 
generosity ; the closed fist, of austerity, avarice, or violence. 

2 Popularly Bah&walhak, corrupted from Baha el-Hakk — Light 
of the Truth, i.e., Allah. His name is invoked by all the Moslem 
tribes, from Multan southwards, and his biography has been made 
the subject of many a tedious volume. 



196 Sind Revisited. 



him ; expecting thereby to secure for themselves 
the perpetual benefit of his presence, and to raise 
their recreant selves to a high degree in the 
spiritual world. A strange way, you remark, to 
propitiate a holy man : a very common one, I assert, 
in the wilder parts of Central Asia, as any sceptic 
may learn by asking the Afghan Hazdxehs how 
they came by the number of saints buried on their 
mountains. As regards devouring the venerated 
defunct, it is done with the superstitious popular 
idea that whoever tastes the flesh or blood of 
a great Santon, thereby eats himself holy, as 
Templars dine themselves "learned." 

However, the miscreants were defeated in the 
design. One of the saint's trusty followers dis- 
covered the plot, proposed to save his superior by 
sleeping in his bed that night, and was graciously 
permitted to enroll himself in the ranks of that 
distinguished body — the Moslem army of martyrs. 
The accursed Muriels l then took the corpse, 
" bryttled ' 5 it, boiled the choice cuts, and were 
preparing for their holy and cannibal meal, when 
(0 never-failing expedient in the hands of the 
Eastern romancer !), struck with an unknown fear, 
they looked loathingly upon 

( ' The poor remains of what was once a saint ; " 

put them into a pot, and cast it upon the broad 
bosom of Mehran. The vessel was presently found 

1 A Muriel is a " disciple," opposed to a Murshid, or " spiritual 
instructor." 



The Seven Fishermen. 197 

by seven hungry men of the Mohana, or fisherman - 
caste, who devoured its contents in ignorance of 
their nature, and who at once, by virtue of the 
same, quitting vulgar piscation, became fishers of 
humanity and men of Allah, very holy, and, 
apparently, very fond of meddling, as sometimes 
happens, with matters that in no way concerned 
them. 

You see that tall, grey old ruin of hewn stone 
upon the hill overlooking the lake. It was built 
there by the same Jam Tamachi, for the purpose of 
affording his beautiful bride, Niiren, the daughter 
of a fisherman, a view of the humble scenes in 
which she was born, and which, incredible to relate, 
she continued to love, even after her elevation to 
the dizzy height of regal dignity. To that palace 
the seven Walls, or Santons, repaired, and de- 
manded the right of ingress, rudely as the German 
missionaries addressed poor King Theodore of 
Abyssinia. Indeed, so authoritative was their 
tone and manner, that the very warders, an order 
of " gentlemen " who in Sind are not a whit 
more affable than the footmen of Belgravia, dared 
not turn up their noses at the sight of pedestrians 
knocking at a great man's door. And when these 
individuals appeared in the presence, instead of 
joining their palms, prostrating themselves, trem- 
bling, and looking exanimate with fear, Pom ! they 
squatted down upon the rich rugs, and stared in 
the Jam's face for at least five minutes. Cats, 
be it observed, are proverbially admitted to this 



198 Sind Revisited. 



privilege in England ; but, in a purely Oriental 
country, a low fellow venturing to try the experi- 
ment would probably leave the hall of audience 
plus a solid bastinado, and minus half his natural 
number of toes. No wonder, then, that the Jam, 
just and generous as he was, could not, for the life 
of him, prevent his cheek turning livid and his 
beard curling crisp with very rage. 

" King of kings ! we are here by order of 
Heaven to protect thee and thine against the 
impious attempts of the Moghal ! " 

The Jam started. 

Unacquainted with Sind history, you must be 
informed that the high and mighty Ala el-Din 
(Aladdin), Emperor of Delhi, had fixed the eye of 
concupiscence upon the fair valley of Sind; and, like 
certain modern rulers, by no means contented with 
a frontier Indus as the " natural boundary of 
Western India," he had been doing all his possible 
to fix a quarrel upon the Sammah chief. The 
latter, knowing that the weaker always goes to 
the wall, in Asia as in Europe, had smilingly put 
up with many an insult and injury. Hence the 
reason why, when the Moghal was alluded to, the 
Jam started, whilst an expression of curiosity and 
encouragement replaced the angry cloud which had 
settled upon his countenance. 

The Seven Fishermen then proceeded to inform 
him that directly under the walls of the capital was 
the head of a large land-serpent, whose tail ter- 
minated at Delhi, six hundred direct geographical 



The Monster Snake. 199 

miles, not including an occasional coil. They 
added, that as long as the animal continued in 
that position, Sind had nought to fear from the 
Lords of India, and they concluded by asking and 
obtaining the Prince's permission to thrust an iron 
spit into the snake's nose, for the purpose of curbing 
any erratic vagaries in which it might be disposed 
to indulge. 

Long and loud laughed the cits and wits of 
Thatha at the senile credulity of the Jam, their 
ruler. They had no " Charivari," it is true, but the 
want of that civilized invention was more than com- 
pensated by the infinitude of sarcastic odes and 
sneering epigrams that daily issued from the local 
pens. Now Jam Tamachi, like many other very great 
people, ancient, medieval, and modern, had a nervous 
horror of the hum, the buzz, and the sting of 
that spiteful little insect called a satirist. More- 
over, although he well knew that his only chance of 
escaping with a whole skin was to remain dead- 
quiet till the swarm which had settled upon him 
thought proper to seek another subject, he could 
not curb his impatient spirit. The result of his 
irritability was, that after vainly threatening to 
impale, roast, or chop in pieces the authors of his 
annoyance, and after enduring an increase of 
virulence for a few clays, at length, in an evil hour, 
he ordered the spit to be wrenched out of the 
ground. 

The iron was pulled up reeking with gore, 
and was shown to the sceptical Thatha-ites. Then 



200 Sind Revisited. 



the smirk of self-esteem and the sneer of scorn gave 
way to another kind of look. They fell upon their 
knees before the Prince and his holy advisers ; 
awe-struck and confounded into belief, they sup- 
plicated the Seven Fishermen to intercede with 
Heaven for them, their children, and their country. 
But these personages informed them that the thing 
was impossible, that the snake had 

" Turned his head where stood his tail," 

and that Sind had for ever lost her protecting 
spell. 

Jam Tamachi, as I have said, was renowned 
for exceeding equity. He acknowledged that the 
Fishermen were blameless : indeed, he owned that 
their conduct throughout the affair had been every- 
thing it ought to have been. Only he insisted 
upon the paramount importance of obedience in 
the subject ; and he told them flatly that unless 
that serpent's cranium returned within the twenty- 
four hours to where it was before, he should 
consider it his melancholy duty to make their heads 
and the rest of their persons part company. Justice, 
he remarked, was a very fine thing, but 

His arguments are not worth recording. The 
fact is, he was unconsciously conscience-smitten ; 
angry with himself a person whom he could not 
punish, he naturally became anxious to find some 
one upon whom he could vent his royal rage. The 
Seven Fishermen asked for nothing better than the 
Crown of Glory. So Jam Tamachi obliged them in 



The Martyr Fishermen, 201 

that little matter by directing their throats to be 
cut from ear to ear, and their heads to be wrenched, 
as the custom was, off their bodies. 

But conceive the dismay of the king, his 
courtiers, his counsellors, his captains, and his 
commonalty, when the last Body, immediately after 
decapitation, rising slowly from the cordovan, 
upon which it had knelt during the operation, 
stood bolt upright, grasping its head in its out- 
stretched right hand. And furthermore, imagine, 
if you can, the state of mind in which the terrified 
throng heard the bloodless lips pronounce this 
unpoetic rhyme : 

" Aror 1 shall burst its dyke, and flow 
Hakro perennial to the main : 
And fish shall swim, and lilies grow 2 
Where Sammahs plough the sultry plain ! " 

Now the "band" or embankment of Aror was a 
leaden wall, thrown across the Indus many years 
before the time of Jam Tamachi, by the prayers 
of an honourable husband and father, who, to save 
spouse and daughter from the tyrant Dalura's 3 
importunities, diverted the main stream westward 

1 Aror, the old Raj put-capital of Sind, lies, as we shall see, 
east of the Indus at Pohri. In 1855 Captain Kirby, who should 
have known better, thus mistranslated these lines : 

" When broken shall be the band of Aror, 
And the water shall flow over Hakrah, 
Where shall be the fishing of the Samma 1 " 

2 Alluding to the "Lorh" the "Beh" and the "Paban" 
{Nelumbium speciosum), which has an edible root, and to the 
"Kuni'' or "Puni" (Nymphoea pubescens), whose tubers are eaten 
raw, roasted, or boiled. 

3 Chapter xxviii. 



202 Sind Revisited. 



into its present rocky bed, and escaped from the 
ruthless king's capital, via that new cut, the present 
Indus. As for Hakro flowing, no one thought it 
possible that the old, deserted, dried-up bed would 
ever be restored to its pristine state ; and yet 
there stood a corpse, pertinaciously and positively 
assuring them, that the Sammah tribe of Sindis, 
who for the most part inhabit the sandy and sterile 
eastern frontier towards Jaysalmir, should dine on 
such luxuries as Pallah x -fisri and aquatic roots. 

Satisfied, apparently, with the amount of commo- 
tion caused by its display of eloquence, the Corpse 
turned upon its heel and deliberately walked out of 
the audience-hall, through the crowded streets in the 
direction of the Eastern Desert. 

Then arose the second Trunk, and with the 
malicious eagerness with which man communicates 
bad news to man, pronounced these prophetic 
words : 

" Steeds, gaunt and blue, 2 pour from the North, 
And matrons walk the crowded way : 
Then, Sind ! incline thy stubborn head 
Before the strangers' 3 sabre sway." 

That martyr left the palace amidst a fresh thrill 
of horror. Besides the sceptre of Delhi, the natives 

1 Chapter xxix. 

2 A grey horse, in Persian and Sindi, is called "blue." The 
term would be applied to the light-coloured Arabs upon which our 
Cavalry in India is generally mounted. There is nothing more 
curious than the peculiar colour-blindness which seems to haunt 
the modern Prakrit tongues. 

3 In the original "Td-jyani," a word with a plurality of significa- 
tions, or rather, with none in particular. 



The Prophecies. 203 



of Sincl feared only the Afghan sabre. Afghan- 
istan, you know, sir, is north of Sind, and the idea 
of their already too gay dames and too coquettish 
damsels being allowed to go about the streets and 
bazars, without any let or hindrance whatever, was 
hard for them to stomach. The threat of slavery, 
the " tail of the storm," fell almost unheeded upon 
their ears, so stunned were they by the outburst 
that preceded it. 

The third Corpse, probably pitying their mental 
tortures, changed the subject and became extremely 
oracular and ambiguous : 

" For years and years broad Ar shall flow, 
But when it dries by Fate's decree ; 
Then the Beloch shall sell his bairn 
For silver pieces two and three." 

Now the Ar, or Bhagar, once the westernmost fork 
of the Indus, whose embouchure is now called the 
Piti, Pittri or Pitte Mouth, 1 was of no particular 
importance to the people of Thatha : moreover, in 
those days they knew little, and they cared less, 
about their future rulers, the Beloch, a tribe of 
wretched hill-barbarians. Modern Sindis would have 
recognized in a moment the mystic meaning of the 
quatrain., which points unerringly to the social 
position of that people in the present day, when the 
descendant of a Talpur, or royal Beloch, and the 
progeny of a low-caste Sincli Machhi are equal as 

1 Murray's "Handbook" (p. 475) calls it "Pilti." The BagMr, 
or "destroyer," has long ago "silted up;" it cannot admit craft 
drawing two feet, and the main stream has moved off to the Jud 
(Jood) mouth, at least thirty miles to the south-east. 



204 Sind Revisited. 



two pennyweights in the well-poised balance which 
British Equity holds before an admiring world. 

But lest the crowd should, we must suppose, 
think themselves quite out of the scrape, Body 
number Four, after going through the usual pre- 
liminaries, began to predict a direct and direful 
disaster : 

et I hear from Lar the sound of strife, 
I see the hosts from Siro haste ; 
Then, Sind ! from 'twixt the South and East 
The brand of war thy shores shall waste." 

Here was a terrible conglomeration of mis- 
fortunes ; a war beginning from Lar (Lower Sind) ; 
again the prospect of those abominable Afghans 
attacking Siro (the upper districts), and the certainty 
that both provinces would be involved in the 
common calamity. Intensely bitter became the re- 
flections of the Thatha-ites, when the current of their 
thoughts was diverted by another prediction, which 
acted upon the mental palate like a sugar-plum 
after a black-dose, to reverse Tasso's savoury epic 
image : 

" Karo Kabaro's walls shall view 

Fierce combat raging half a day ; 
The Mirmichi shall routed be, 

Then, Sind ! once more be blithe and gay." 

And the doubt as to who or what might be these 
Mirmichi, a word which has no precise meaning, 
by exciting the curiosity, aroused the spirit of 
the auditors in no ordinary degree. They actually 
experienced a sort of pleasurable excitement — as 



The Last Prophecy. 205 

Mediterraneans do whilst miracles are performed — 
when the next Headless Trunk, rising from its knees, 
followed the example of its vaticinating brotherhood : 

" The Mirmiclii ! who may teach ye 
The surest token him to know ? 
His lady fair wears double tails, 

And down his neck the ringlets flow." 

The Jam and all the crowd, who knew for certain 
that their own hair was regularly every morning, 
after being washed with met, or fuller's earth, and 
perfumed oil, combed out and tied in a knot upon 
the polls of their heads, and that the locks of their 
lovely spouses were plaited into a single queue with 
scarlet ribbons and strings of seed-pearl, now felt 
assured that the rough handling predicted for the 
Mirmiclii (common fellows who did not know even 
how to make their hair look decent !), could not by 
all the quibbling and quirking, the twisting and 
torturing, of any mantologist in the land be made 
to apply to themselves. Had they been an English 
audience they would most probably have greeted 
the speaker with a loud " hear, hear ! " or a general 
hurrah. Being Sindis, they gesticulated and jabbered 
till the last Defunct, determined that, as his brethren 
had begun to " curry favour " with the ignorant of 
caviare, he would not be outdone in " pandering to 
popularity," rapped out these words : 

" Come, come, ye men ! and sit in peace 

Beneath the Nangar's 1 sheltering shade : 
Beyond Piiran no roof-tree plant, 

Nor let one hearthstone there be laid : " 

1 The name of Thatha" : see Chapter vn. 



206 Sind Revisited. 



and, following in the steps of his fraternity, left the 
Darbar. 

When the predicting was all over, crowds, as 
you may imagine, followed the predictors in order 
to see what became of them. They must have had 
the vitality of worms and the legs of horses, those 
Holy Men, for they walked right on end, with the 
most important bit of themselves under their arms, 
to the banks of the Purdn Eiver, at least sixty 
miles off. At length, reaching a palace called Amrl 
they fell to the ground bereft of motion, and were 
there buried by those who had the curiosity to 
watch to the last this peculiar display of pedes- 
trianism. Their sepulchres, which are shown to the 
present day, prove, or ought to prove, I suppose, 
that what is said to have occurred, occurred. 

Some of these rugged rhymes are palpably of 
modern growth ; others are ancient, and have 
probably been handed down from father to son 
for generations past. 1 You would scarcely believe, 

1 Who will write a volume on uninspired prophecy ? — it ought 
to be most amusing and interesting. The Eastern world is full of 
curious predictions ; for instance : 

The Chinese expected harm from a foreign tribe ruled by a 
woman. 

The Burmese learned from their Merlin that they would be 
invincible until a ship without oars or sails stemmed the Irawaddy. 

The Sikh Gurus predicted the conquest of Sind to take place 
in the Sambat year 1900 = a. d. 1844. 

The Southern Africans, as the late Mrs. Ward (" Cape and the 
Caffres ") informs us, felt beaten when they saw the long-foretold 
sea-waggons touch their shores. And, to quote no others, Shah 
Mahmat' Ullah predicted in verse the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857-8, 
"one hundred years after the Christians shall have ruled in Hind." 



Uninspired Prophecies. 207 

Mr. John Bull (unless, at least, you heard it from so 
well-informed a compagnon de voyage as myself), 
the effect they have exercised upon the fortunes 
of this province. The Lycophronic designation 
"Mirmichi," after being applied successively to the 
Indians, Afghans, Jats, and others, descended in 
due course of time to the next ruling race, the 
Belochs. Varice lectiones began to creep in. The 
last couplet of the sixth Corpse's quatrain was thus 
amended : 

" Their locks are black as jet above, 
Their raiment darkly blue below ; " 

a description applicable to the inhabitants of half 
Central Asia. When, after maoy petty squabbles 
with Bombay (so they interpreted the origin of the 
storm from between south and east), a force march- 
ing from Lower Sind, under Sir John Keane, 
threatened them with war ; and, finally, when Sir 
Charles Napier hurried down from Sakhar via Hdla, 
to attack HaydardMd, with his men mounted on 
gaunt " blue " steeds, the self-named " Mirmichi ?5 
felt certain that their hour was come. They fought, 
but with diminished spirit, and thus the prediction, 
as we so often see in such matters, verified itself. 
To the present day the Sindis swear by these 
prophecies : the Bhagdx creek has shrunk ; the proud 
Beloch has lost the privileges which the ruling race 
once enjoyed ; matrons and maidens do walk the 
streets much more than they used ; and Karachi, 
" beneath the Nangar s shade " (i.e., not far from it), 



208 Sind Revisited. 



has ousted Haydarabad from its ancient position 
as capital of the country. True, the dyke of Aror 
remains, the Hakro has not yet provided the 
hungry Sammahs with fishes or loaves, and there 
has been no battle at the place called Karo KaMro. 
But these are little flaws which must be regarded 
with the indulgence usually extended by you, sir, 
to poesy, painting, and the other trades which deal 
wholesale in imaginative material. 

Pray look not so contemptuous and high-minded 
at what you term the " poor devils' credulity." 
This is a weed which grows all the world over, 
in every age and in every clime. Superstition is 
a constant quantity. Whenever the public mind, 
civilized or barbarous, becomes excited, it flies 
directly to the preternatural and the supernatural, 
even as a gentleman in distress goes to the 
bottle. 

I could support this assertion by many an 
example, but not having time to dress and deck it 
in the elaborate garb it deserves to wear, I prefer, 
with your permission, to leave it in the naked form 
of a dictum. But before parting with the subject, 
I recollect reading a legend in some old French 
book which matches so admirably with what I 
have just been narrating, that for the life of me 
I cannot help recounting it for your edification in 
my own way. 

As one Dennis, of beatified memory, was 
trudging in company with a little knot of friends 
towards a muddy town and camp, then called 



St. Dennis of France, 209 

Lutetia Parisiorum, and garrisoned by a legion of 
pagan Komans, he came upon one of their outposts 
on a hill not far from the end of his journey. The 
spirit moved the holy Areopagite to turn into one 
of the leathern tents, tenanted by the fighting-men, 
and to begin a discourse, which presently collected 
around him half a century of soldiers, and hundreds 
of the Lixse, or camp-followers. 

The harangue, I take the liberty of presuming, 
as such is almost invariably the case, began with 
questions about the soldiers' immortal souls, and 
passed into an exhortation anent "mending their 
ways," figuratively, not literally, and becoming good 
Christians. From which proper field for excellent 
advice, and abundant prosing, it slipped insensibly 
into a dangerous bit of debatable ground, violent 
abuse of heathenism and heathens, young and old, 
male and female, priests, laymen, and vestal virgins, 
pell-mell. 

"Id nimis est bonce rei" said a frowning old 
Triarius, or grenadier, six feet and a half high, with 
a beard like a bear's back, and a face gridironed 
with scars. 

" Fac teneat maxillam, tunc" cried a pert 
Veles, or light-infantry man. 

" Nil facilius ! hie it," growled the veteran, 
walking off to the tent of his centurion. 

The vieille moustache was right. Captain 

Caius Flaccus Luscinus iEmilianus Indicus, who 

derived his second cognomen, or agnomen, from 

having served twenty years in India with the * * * 

vol. i. 14 



210 Sind Revisited. 



Buffs, disliked nothing more than a Frenchman, save 
and except only a Christian and a "parson-cove." 
Military law was not quite so deeply studied, or 
so well defined, in those days, as it is now. The 
gallant officer found little difficulty in making out 
a case of high treason against the holy St. Dennis 
and his friends, who, by-the-by, had done absolutely 
nothing but shake over their bare feet at the 
prospect of appropinquate martyrdom. All were 
seized, were unmercifully kicked and mauled, lest 
decapitation might not be a sufficient punishment, 
and finally were beheaded with extreme brutality, 
for their clothes formed so ragged a perquisite, and 
their pockets were so painfully light, that no 
amount of supplication would induce Calcraftus, the 
lictor, to do his work like a gentleman. 

The saint was the last to suffer. In the fervour 
of his orisons, he had quite forgotten one thing, 
namely, that his bones, which might be so useful in 
healing the bodies and souls of mankind, would be 
quite lost to the world, if thrown, as they were 
likely to be, into the nearest ditch, to moulder 
away in obscure corruption. So, leaving his six 
friends, whose faith did not enable them to per- 
form such feats, St. Dennis rose from the blood- 
stained ground, and carrying his head, whose 
frontal portion frowned like a Saracen's upon the 
discomfited pagans, he walked directly into the 
" City of Mud," where, after a short consultation 
with the Very Eeverend the Diocesan of that 
diocese, he was duly " put to bed with a shovel," in 



St. Dennis of France. 211 



the firm and pious hope of becoming, at some 
future time, a ton or two of reliques. 

I forget whether the hard heart of Captain C F. 
L. M. Indicus was melted by the occurrence ; or 
whether he simply ejaculated in Latin, Ce n' est que 
le premier pas qui coute, and died as he lived, a 
pestilent heathen. But I recollect that there is, 
near Paris, a place called Montmartre, the Mount of 
Martyrs, where the Sacre Cceur, the ugliest edifice 
in Christendom, is building, and I consider the 
name proof-positive that the event above detailed 
really occurred. 

And you cannot need reminding, sir, that during 
the eventful years, '48, '49, '50, and '51, all kinds 
of Welsh and German predictions about crowned 
heads, war, famine, and grave-diggers, were flying 
about in the mouths of men. None, of course, 
believed in, though all knew and quoted, them : had 
they turned out true, which unfortunately they did 
not, they had as fair a chance of descending to 
posterity as the rhymes of the Seven Fishermen. 



212 Sind Revisited. 



CHAPTER XL 

SUNDAN AND JAKAK — BUDHIST REMAINS. 

Sundan and Jarak are two places to which I am 
about to introduce you, rather for the ceremonial 
and uniformity of the route than with the expecta- 
tion that you will derive much pleasure from the 
acquaintance. 

I dare say the journey from Kinjar to Sundan, 
the nearest village on the Haydarabad road, was 
thus noted in your diary : 

"Kose early, mounted old Arab, lost the way 
three times ; cold and comfortless ; heavy sand and 
hard rock, all up and down hill ; did not arrive at 
encampment-ground till 9 a.m. ; five hours doing 
10 miles. Only birds, stone-chats and wheatears, 
crested larks and vultures. Place where tent 
stood, dirty and disagreeable. Breakfasted as 
usual, slept, awoke at 2 p.m. Splendid afternoon. 
Dined at 3 ; at 4, walked 2 — 3 miles to see 
some large domed tombs ; I am sick of them, but 
that man B. will insist upon my doing all the 
sights. All to be seen was a troop of beggars, 



Humbug, 213 

calling themselves ' Fukyers,' who looked very surly 
before I gave them a few coppers. Eeturned to 
tea ; went to bed under quilt first time since leaving 
dear old England." 

And I have no doubt, unrom antic senior ! 
that you chronicled the next day's march in a very 
similar style. 

We started, you may remember, en route for 
Jarak, winding along the skirts of many ridgy 
heights, now descending into the thickly-wooded 
plain that lines the margin of the river, then again 
ascending its western barrier of stony hills, many of 
them strewed with Moslem tombs. 

•About half way we passed a long Shikdxgali, 
which has gained a perdurable ill name : the high- 
road now runs above it to the right or East. This 
is supposed to be the hunting forest where those 
flinty-hearted despots, the Talpur Amirs, " like the 
first Norman in Bolderwood, razed a populous 
village to the ground, and transported its inhabi- 
tants to a distant district, because the crowing of 
the cocks and other rural sounds of its human and 
bestial population disturbed the game in the neigh- 
bouring preserve." 

When you are in the highly moral and philan- 
thropic mood (you are liable to such complaints 
by fits and starts, sir), what food for reflection and 
dissertation does such a fact afford you ! The stony 
bosom of despotism, the " Beautiful Tyrant " and his 
harp, William the Conqueror, and William surnamed 
Eufus ; " the caput rnortuum of tyranny distilled 



214 Sind Revisited. 



down step by step, from its first outbreaks in the 
insolence of place and the intoxication of success, 
till it ends in the destruction of villages (the plural), 
and the expulsion of a population (rather an exten- 
sive singular !) for the creation of hunting-ground." 
These, I repeat, are pregnant themes. 

Then came to mind that dear old Oliver's rod- 
taught lines upon the subject of Deserted Villages, 
teeming with images of lovely ruralities and 
romantic ideas of purity and happiness, which your 
boyish fancy was erroneously wont to associate 
with country-life. And, though grim Keason sug- 
gested that these Caligulas of Sind had a perfect 
right to do what they pleased with their own, how 
willingly you turned an ear to the small still voice 
which informed you that the ruin of that ungodly 
race, and the plunder of their landed property were 
retributively decreed by " Providence." 

However, about all this there is much rank 
misapprehension, the growth, I conceive, of a hot- 
bed of " humbug." It is a curious illustration of 
Sathanas and his Scriptural quotations, that when- 
ever good Madam Britannia is about to break the 
eighth commandment, she simultaneously bursts 
into much rhapsodizing about the bright dawn 
of Christianity, the finger of "Providence," the 
spread of civilization, and the infinite benefit 
conferred upon barbarians by her permitting them 
to become her subjects and pay their rents to her. 
Examine this Shikargali-tyranny-grievance, once 
quoted by every writer and writerkin who touched 



The Truth 215 



the subject. In Sind each component house of a 
flourishing village would be razed to the ground, 
carried ten miles off; re-erected and re-inhabited 
at the probable expense of two and sixpence per 
domicile. Moreover, I regret to say that the 
Sindis, like foreigners in general, having no word 
to explain your "home ;" attach none of those pretty 
ideas to the place in question which supply Mr. 
John Bull, Mrs. B., and the children, with matter 
for eternal maudlin. Finally these maligned 
Shikarg^hs did abundant good. They retained the 
moisture which they produced ; they served as 
dykes to the Eiver, and they prevented Ahriman 
the Desert, encroaching upon Hormuzd the fertile 
Valley-plain. 

You remarked, as we passed by, the parched 
grass smouldering under our horses' hoofs. This 
Shikargah appears to have a fatal facility of 
catching fire : I have passed through it half a 
dozen times, and always found some part of it 
burning. Here it was that three young officers of 
the 2nd Queen's, then marching northward under 
Sir John Keane, lost their lives. A court of inquest 
assembled, and recorded a verdict of accidental 
death. The men of the regiment, of course, were 
furious, as they had a prospect of fighting the 
Belochs ; and, although there was no evidence to 
prove that the enemy had been guilty of foul play, 
they were more than willing, like soldiers generally 
at such conjunctures, to find some pretext for waxing 
immensely ferocious and bloodthirsty. Such is the 



216 Sind Revisited. 



way in this part of the world. You seldom hear of 
men going into battle without some aggravated 
personal grievance, such as the loss of an officer, 
a friend, a dog, a wife, or a box. One old Scotch- 
man, in Afghanistan, never spared a life, it is said, 
because the women were in the habit of crying out 
" Aman ! " (quarter !) which Sawney, translating 
into a petition for "a mon," considered a liberty so 
gross and immoral as to justify any amount of 
severity. And yet, how severe we are, upon the 
Kuss ! 

Probably the poor fellows had set fire to the 
jungle in order to start the game, and a sudden 
change of wind had brought the flame down upon 
themselves. You can scarcely imagine how easy it 
is to be burned to death in one of these places. 
Beneath the tall tamarisk, acacia, mimosa, and shari 
or willow-poplar, the common tree in this part of 
Sind, is a mass of matted underwood, luxuriant sedge, 
rank weed, and long grass, all of which, in the dry 
season, are inflammable as German tinder. Your 
servants and camels pass through, say, an hour 
before you, smoking their pipes and dropping fire 
in all directions. You follow them probably by 
another and neighbouring cut, jogging slowly along, 
thinking of breakfast or whistling for want of other 
occupation. Suddenly a sharp crackling and a loud 
roaring behind you make you prick up your ears ; 
you look round, and see a huge tongue of flame, 
playfully attempting to lick your back. In a 
frantic state of mind you clap spurs to your steed 



The Burning Jungle. 217 

and, if fear do not deprive it of the use of its 
limbs, or if, on the other hand, fear do not urge it 
onward so blindly that the bough of a tree sweeps 
you off its back and stuns you ; if the path before 
you be not bright with red-hot ashes, upon which 
no horse will tread ; and finally, if the fire fail to 
catch you up behind, or to meet you in front (for 
one of these five contingencies you must be prepared), 
escape is possible. Vice versa, there will be a 
Court of Inquest. If on foot you probably climb 
some tree, an act of infatuation which many, situated 
as you are, commit ; you are asphyxiated by dense 
rolling clouds of hot black smoke spangled with 
little bits of burning straw ; the flames are roaring 
for you below ; you leap wildly from your ill- 
selected place of refuge ; you 

As, mounting the brow of a hill, we caught 
sight of a line of water inclosed by jungly banks 
still purpling in the imperfect morning light, I 
elevated myself, if you recollect, upon my stirrups ; 
I extended my right arm and, with the impressive 
expression of countenance with which an effective 
cicerone standing at the Camaldoli pronounces the 
apophthegm, Vedi Napoli e poi muori, I looked at 
you and exclaimed — 

" There, sir, flows the monarch of Indian rivers, 
the far-famed, the classic Indus ! " 

Now, a year or two after your return home you 
will probably forget les actualites of the scene. 
You find it necessary to suppose facts, you have 
discovered that the Childe- Harold-style "goes down" 



218 Sind Revisited. 



society's throat much more glibly than that of 
Mathews or Smollett, the querulous and the blase, 
therefore you will become impressionable, romantic, 
poetical, semi-sublime, et cetera. 

And one of these days, when my ear detects you 
describing to a delighted lady audience " the strong, 
the overpowering emotion with which I contem- 
plated the scene of Alexander's glories : " when you 
are caught asseverating that " never before did the 
worship of water or water-gods appear to me so 
excusable, as in observing the blessings everywhere 
diffused by this mighty and beneficent stream," — 

Then I shall whisper in your ear, " No, Mr. 
John Bull, you did nothing of the kind. You 
looked surlily at me when I attempted, by allusions 
to the Chrysorrhoas and other life-giving waters, 
to kindle the fuel of enthusiasm latent in your 
bosom ; and you remarked that the river wasn't 
broader than the Thames at Black'all. This you 
corrected to the Thames at Green'ich, and between 
Greenwich and Blackwall you stuck till we reached 
the margin of the stream. Whereupon you swore 
that it was still as a mill-pond ; foul as a London 
sewer ; shallow, flat- banked, full of sandy shoals, 
snags, and sawyers ; briefly, an ugly sight : your 
only admission was something about a " fine river 
property." Even the lovely Acacias, whose yellow 
locks drooped gracefully over the wave, as if they 
were so many Undines gazing fondly into their 
natal depths, could not force admiration from you. 

Jarak is the first town you have seen not built 



Jardk. 219 

upon the alluvial flat formed by the Indus. It 
occupies the summit of an irregular height, an 
eastern buttress of the Kirthar Mountains (Hala 
hills), the last of the broken chain along which we 
have travelled. These flat- topped mounds generally 
rise about one hundred feet above the plain ; and 
their areas vary from fifty yards square to half a 
mile or so. The spur of rock, upon which the town 
is built, forms a headland projecting into the river, 
and thus checks its excursions towards the west- 
ward. Burnes praised it highly, and Sir Charles 
Napier long regretted that he had not chosen it, 
instead of HaydaraMd, for barracking his Europeans. 
The hill-cantonment was slightly fortified ; now 
we can trace only the foundation-lines. You see 
below the town that hard dry flat, composed of sand- 
stone and covered with a debris of iron-ore instead 
of the vegetable matter one usually expects plains 
to bear. At one time, when garrisons were cheap, 
the place was considered a good position for a large 
depot ; it commands the navigation of the river ; 
it would never want good water and supplies, and it 
is situated in a healthy climate near a place of some 
importance, the grand mart to which the wild 
mountaineers of Belochistan resort for pleasure 
and profit. Then Jarak became an outpost, the 
garrison consisting in toto of a company of Sepoys 
detached from a regiment at Haydarabad, and 
drilled by a solitary lieutenant, " the officer com- 
manding at Jerruck." Some years ago, here also 
was the head-quarters station of the Camel Baggage 



220 Sind Revisited. 



Corps, a mixture of men and beasts, very efficient 
in time of war, but uncommonly expensive in 
peace, compounded by the conqueror of Sind as a 
sedative to another complaint in the constitution 
of the Indian army, namely, the inconceivable 
quantity of kit and baggage with which we are 
popularly supposed to be in the habit of marching. 
What terrible things these pet grievances are ! 

And now " Ichabod " is written upon Jarak the 
soldier is gone and a Deputy- Collector has made it 
his head-quarters : you see his mud bungalow on 
the top of that mound to the west, standing some 
350 feet above the native settlement. 

We have not spent an exciting day. We 
passed an hour or two pleasantly enough in 
directing our spy- glasses at the lads and little 
lasses, who were disporting themselves in the 
muddy waters of the " Classic." After which, we 
walked through the alleys, were barked at by the 
pariah dogs, stared at and called Kdfirs by the small 
boys — blessed effects of British liberty ! — we were 
giggled at by certain painted dames with roguish 
eyes, and we were sedulously avoided by the rest of 
the population. But we did not remain long in 
the streets : I know no place where one of your 
thorough-bred continental-English flaneurs would 
be more out of gear than in a Young Egypt 
townlet. 

Descending the western side of the hill, you 
remarked an attempt at sculpture, a huge mis- 
shaped form which I informed you was Hanuman, 



Old Days at Jar ah. 221 

the Hindu monkey-god. And I took the oppor- 
tunity to remark that the worshippers had just 
decorated his countenance with a coat of vermilion, 
not solely for the purpose of rouge, but as a compli- 
ment to his baboon-deityship, a practice anciently 
Western as well as Eastern. Then we stood for a 
few minutes to see a native horseman, exercising 
his charger on the plain below ; teaching it to 
bound off at full speed when it felt the heel ; to 
stop dead when the rein was drawn, with the best 
chance of injuring its back sinews ; to canter over a 
figure of 8, gradually contracting its dimensions till 
the quadruped leant over at an angle of 45°; and 
to gallop like mad whilst the owner threw himself 
over the off-side, and, hanging by his left heel to 
the cantle, picked up a spear from the ground. 
Then we returned home to dinner, and now here 
we are ; sitting upon the banks of the Indus, and 
wondering what we are to do next. 

I recollect a somewhat curious event which 
occurred at Jarak, and as it illustrates certain 
Oriental states of mind and phases of feeling which 
you, Mr. Bull, have long since forgotten, I will 
forthwith recount it to you. Before Sind was 
thoroughly settled by our bayonets, little Jarak 

was committed to the safety of one Z Khan, 

a Persian pretender to the throne, who, having 
fled his native country in consequence of an attempt 
at rebellion, turned condottiere, and took service, 
with his troop, under Sir Charles Napier. Eeceiving 
orders to garrison the town, the worthy descendant 



222 Sind Revisited. 



of the ancient Isma'iliyyah l at once assumed 
command, issued proclamations directing the timid 
inhabitants to board and lodge his men gratis, 
levied a kind of tribute from all who could pay- 
it, unmercifully bullied all who could not, and, in 
short, invested himself with all the outward and 
visible signs of royal rank and dignity. 

Some weeks the Khan spent in his new kingdom, 
leading a life after Sancho Panza's own heart ; 
perhaps exceeding a little in the drinking and 
love-making lines. His followers, following his 
example, " eat, swilled, and played," till Jarak 
became another Nineveh on a very small scale. 
The Beloch, having nothing better to do, had 
threatened to attack it a dozen times or so, but the 
Khan, a Shfah, laughed at their beards. Were 
they not hogs of Sunnis ? Had he not dishonoured 
all their mothers ? And had he not done the 
strangest possible things to their father's graves ? 
Whose dogs were they, that they should dare to face 
the death-dealing scimitar of the Iroonee ? 2 — mouth 
the word well. 

A parenthesis ! Collect the noted liars and 

1 A sect that had the power of producing the Old Man of the 
Mountain, of whom Christendom has heard and read so much. 
His castle "Masyad" may still be seen in the Northern Libanus, 
near and west of Hamah (Hamath). No one knows anything about 
the tribe, whose features proclaim it to be Persian. "Tancred" 
found it worshipping the gods of Olympus; and the "Asian 
Mystery," by the Reverend S. Lyde, has added but little to our 
scanty stock of information. I could not find out whether there 
is any modern locum tenens of Hasan Sabuh, alias Sayyah ; or any 
traces of his Fidawis, or disciples. 

2 Iran, generally pronounced Iroon, Persia ; Iroonee, a Persian. 



Persian Gasconading. 223 



boasters, the Munchausens and Gascons of both 
hemispheres ; I will back the first pure Persian I 
chance to pick up against the whole field. Also, of 
all the clever fellows in the East, they are the 
cleverest : — was not even the " great Eltchee " out- 
witted by some second-rate Persian diplomatist ? 

One evening the Khan had just finished his 
supper, and was preparing for a game of back- 
gammon or chess, which he was sure to win, as no 
man dared to win it from him : the drinking- cups 
and the bottles were ranged in a line before him ; 
the musicians were twanging and howling in a corner 
of the room ; every thing was prepared for a quiet 
" at home ; " 

When, all of a sudden, half-mad with fear, rushed 
in an unfortunate Sindi, bringing the intelligence 
that a body of at least fifty thousand Beloch (two 
of the cyphers were as usual de troj)) had arrived 
within a mile of Jarak ; that he himself had seen 
them, and that he had hurried on to give warning, 
lest the Khan and his Rustams should be attacked 
unawares. 

You, sir, or 1, under such circumstances, would 
most probably have tossed to the fellow a handful of 
rupees, and then would have turned out to inspect 
the guards, and to make preparations for a set-to ; 
— possibly dispositions for a retreat, should such 
measure be deemed advisable. 

" Seize that pup of unmarried parents/' roared 
the Khan in tremendous wrath; "here with the 
pole ! Where are the rods, Baba-segs (dog-papas) ? " 



224 Sind Revisited. 



The attendants, thus designated, indignant as 
their master at the affront offered to him, were 
proportionately active in resenting it. In a second 
the Sindi was on his back ; in another his ankles 
were lashed tight to the stout staff supported upon 
two fellows' shoulders, and long before the minute 
was over, four stout ruffians were " quilting " the 
unfortunate's soles and toes, even as upholsterers' 
boys in Italy beat out the stuffing of old mattresses, 
whilst their master stood ejaculating, Wurin! 
Wurin!! 1 with all the dignity of a Kajar. The 
Khan was in no mood to be merciful, and it is a 
common practice among Persians, when you prescribe 
a sound flogging, to make any one who spares the 
sufferer share his fate. 

When at length the Sindi had fainted from pain 
and loss of blood, the Khan was graciously pleased 
to deliver himself of a wave of the hand, which the 
executioners understood to signify that a quantum 
siifficit of chastisement had been administered. 

" And what was he beaten for ? " 

What for ? for the abominable crime of showing 
his belief that child of man could possibly be so 
audacious as to conceive the project of attacking 
such a personage as the Khan. 

Two hundred years ago you would not have 
put the question. Let me refer back to the history 
of your own island for a proof. None will do 

1 " Strike ! " The word is Turkish, a language preferred by 
the present ruling family of Persia, who are Kajar Turks, on 
account of its severe and dignified sonorousness. 



The Tale of Jarah. 225 

better than a short extract from old Androwe de 
Wyntoune's " Oiygynale Cronykil" of Scotland 
(a.d. 1420). 

When David II. , after nine or ten years' captivity 
in so-called " Merry England," was ransomed by 
his nobles, he journeyed northward, and arrived 
with the slenderest of retinues at Berwick, where 

" Upon the morn, when he 
Should wend till his counsel privy, 
The folk, as they were wont to do, 
Pressed right rudely in thereto : 
But he right suddenly can arrace 
Out of a macer's hand a mace, 
And said rudely : ' How do we now ? 
Stand still, or the proudest of you 
Shall on the head have with this mace ! ' " 

In the nineteenth century you are disposed to 
think that the " just Kynge Davy " was guilty of a 
gross outrage, in threatening to crack the polls of 
his subjects, who, after doing so much for, were 
pressing forward to see and greet, their ransomed 
sovereign ; and you cannot but wonder how the 
priestly bard brings himself to justify his liege's 
violence by this encomium upon the subject of 
" radure : " 

" Radure in Prince is a gude thing : 
For, but radure, all governing 
Shall all times but despised be. " 

In Sind still, as whilome in England, if you do 
not occasionally shake the bit and administer a 
severe twitch or two to remind the animal that it 
has a master, it is sorely apt to forget the fact, or to 

vol. i. 15 



226 Sind Revisited. 



remember it only with the intention of changing 
places with him at the very first opportunity. 

But you have had time to bury such barbarisms 
in oblivion. When Mohammed Ali Pdsha of Egypt 
was dying, you wondered what could be the use of 
a proclamation which threatened instant beheading 
to any man that dared assert the ruler was defunct. 
We semi-Orientals perfectly understood the object. 
In many Eastern countries, the moment the throne 
becomes vacant all the canaille and mauvais sujets 
of the different cities, and all the wild tribes in their 
vicinity, begin to run riot, to rob, ravish, and 
plunder, like unspeakable Turks, a tort et a travers ; 
and the successor to the vacant seat of dignity, 
after probably a year's hard fighting ending with a 
dearly-bought victory, which enabled him to blind, 
and now enables him to poison off, or otherwise 
" suicide " a few uncles, brothers, cousins, and other 
kinsmen, has to march an army against his own 
subjects, with the unpleasant necessity of diminish- 
ing their numbers by the axe, the cord, and the 
stake, and of injuring his revenue by leading a 
host of human locusts through the land. 

However, to conclude my tale of the Khan: 
Scarcely had the wretched Sind's lacerated stumps 
been stuck in a neighbouring dunghill, the 
recognized treatment for the complaint under which 
he was suffering, when down came the Belochs 
upon Jarak in the most ferocious and rapacious of 
moods. Finding no arrangements made to oppose 
them, they scaled the puddle-parapet, dashed into 



The Tale of Jarak 227 

the town, cut to pieces every beardless man l they 
met; and although they failed to secure the august 
person of the Khan, they did not fail to appropriate 
the contents of his cellar and harem. The potentate 
lost much valuable property in wines and other 
liquors. It was not till some weeks afterwards that 
he recovered his wives ; and when he did, he did 
not, somehow or other, appreciate the value of the 
goods in question. 

Jarak is about ninty-one miles along the road 
from Karachi. We have now left behind Lar, 
or Lower Sind : this is Wicholo, 2 the " central 
region/' You can feel that we are travelling north- 
wards ; the air becomes sensibly drier, and more 
biting in the nights and mornings. During the 
summer-season the mid-day heats are fiercer, as 
the last breath of the sea-breeze is exhaled upon 
the plain of Jarak. Many will tell you it reaches 
Haydarabdd : I cannot say that I ever felt it, but 
there may be exceptions, especially when the south- 
west monsoon blows strong. 

You now see the Indus in the depth of the 
" dries." You can hardly understand the might 
and majesty of its flow when in flood. The yeasty 
brown stream seems to double its breadth : it rushes 
down with a rapidity which turns your head to look 

1 Young Persia, like the Turkish soldiery, generally shaves 
the beard. 

2 Our geographers usually divide the province into two parts, 
Upper and Lower Sind ; the point of demarcation being Haleh- 
kandi, a town situated a few miles north of Haydarabad. The 
natives, with more topographical correctness, distribute it into 
three districts. 



228 Sind Revisited. 



at it, and when the storm-wind is abroad, the tall 
white- crested waves, the dark swirling eddies, and 
the " pot-holes " that pit the raging surface, impress 
you with a sense of awful power. The biggest 
native barges are like straws in its dreadful embrace : 
they are whirled round and round in the maelstroms, 
buffeted by the chopping seas, and tossed by some 
half a dozen gales blowing from as many points of 
the compass, rudely as were the long ships of the 
Macedonian : they are lucky to escape being dashed 
upon a shore or swamped by some vicious " Lahar," 
or rapid. Jarak Eeach, indeed, on account of its 
breath and its exposure, has a very bad name with 
navigators. 

Before we leave Jarak I must point out to 
you the place whence came the Budhist bricks in 
the Municipal Museum of Karachi. From the 
river-bank you can see, about three miles down 
stream, a low, flat-topped hill, overlooking the 
river, close to the village of Shaykh Taru. The 
country people still preserve the tradition that here 
was a " Kafir fort," the stronghold of King 
Manjira in the days before the Moslem invasion. 
Mr. W. Cole, when Deputy- Collector, found, during 
a chance visit, a large fine-grained brick which in- 
duced him to trench across the mound. Presently 
he came upon the top of a wall, and, having cleared 
it down to the level of the hill-surface, he opened a 
building about 85 j- ft. square. The material was of 
brick, each 15^ in. by 9 J and 2| in. ; the courses 
were laid without other cement than the fine mud 



Budhist Remains. 229 

of the Indus, mixed with some fibrous substance. 
The base showed a bold moulding, and at intervals of 
six feet appeared square projections, as for pilasters. 
The potteries were in great variety, some moulded 
and others cut when the clay was soft : most of the 
human figures were defaced, but the iconoclast had 
not taken the trouble to break up the architectural 
ornaments in terra-cotta. From the accounts of the 
Chinese travellers, we should have expected to find 
a vast number of " Stoupas," or tumuli ; such, how- 
ever, has not yet been the case. The only other 
ruin at present known is the " Thiil Kukan," in the 
Naushahro District. It is a cylindrical tower of 
burnt brick, with pilasters and flower-shaped mould- 
ings, said to resemble certain Budhist remains in the 
Panjab. But the people attribute it to Jam Nindo 
(Nizam El-Din), of the Sammdh dynasty, in the later 
XlVth century, and excavation produced no object 
of interest. And the Parkar or south-eastern 
district still supports a temple containing an idol 
of great sanctity, and much frequented by the Jains, 
or Victors, 1 the modified Budhists, whose schism 
assumed a definite shape about our IXth century. 

1 Properly Jaina or Jina, and popularly derived from Ji, vic- 
torious. They deny the supremacy of the Gods ; the inspiration 
of the Vedas (Scriptures), and the distinction of Caste : their 
temples are known by the images of their Tirthankuras — they who 
have crossed over, viz., from phenomenal life to absolute existence. 



230 Sind Revisited, 



CHAPTER XII. 

KOTRI. THE RUINED INTRENCHED CAMP — THE TWO 

ROADS TO HAYDARABAD. 

A sketch of the history and geography of the 
country ? 

No, Mr. John Bull. In the first place, the sub- 
jects have been treated by a host of industrious 
Oriental students — myself included. Secondly, our 
failures in interesting you, and the jper se deadly 
uninteresting nature of the theme, do imperatively 
forbid my making another attempt, at present. 

Oriental history, 1 sir, may be distributed into 
two categories. The ancient is a collection of wildly 
imaginative and most unartful legends and traditions, 
preserved or invented by individuals who were, like 
old Livy's authorities, 

" for profound 
And solid lying much renowned ; " 

and from whose mighty mass of dross and rubbish 
no workman less cunning than Niebuhr, Arnold, or 

1 These remarks are intended as a general character of Oriental 
historiography. The exceptions are many; suffice it to quote El 
Tabiiri and Ferishtah. 



Oriental History, 231 

Mommsen, could extract the smallest quantity 
of ore. 

The chronicles of the times that range within 
authenticity are masses of proper names, connected 
by a string of adventure spun out with peculiar 
fineness ; impartially told, as the most unimportant 
events are at least as diffusedly detailed, like Victor 
Hugo's later novels, as the most important; abound- 
ing in digressions so unskilfully managed that you 
fail to discover when the author starts for, or returns 
from, his by-trip ; prolix where they should be con- 
cise, and compendious where minuteness is desirable ; 
full of the valueless facts of history ; void of the 
valuable philosophy of history, and generally 
deficient in all that highly- educated Europe has 
determined to be the " duty of a wise and worthy 
writer of history." 

As an instance : " In short, after the capture of 
Aror, the metropolis of the province, all the 
dependent States becoming tranquil, the people 
returned to their usual avocations, and felt grateful 
to Mohammed bin Kdsim. He constituted Harun 
the son of Kais, the son of KaVali, the Asidi, 
governor of Aror, and with the dignity of K&zi he 
invested Musd, the son of Yakrib, the son of Tai, 
the son of Nashbdn, the son of Usmjin, the Sdkifi ; 
and he constituted Widah, the son of Ahmed the 
Nejdi, commandant of the city of Brahmandbad ; 
and he gave the fort of Eawar to Naubat, the son 
of Dar^z, and the land of Korah to Bazl, the son of 
Halawi. Then he turned towards Multan, and on 



232 Sind Revisited. 



his way arrived at the stronghold called Bahijeh, 
whence Kulsur, the son of Chandra, the son of 
Silabij, a cousin of Kajah Dahir, and his enemy, 
came forth and tendered his allegiance. After that, 
they conquered the fort of Sakhar, and left Attah, 
the son of Jumahi, to hold it. Then, seizing Multan 
and all its dependencies, forts, strongholds, and 
other places, Kazimah, the son of Abd-el-Malik, the 
son of Tamim, was left at Mahpur ; and Dd/iid, the 
son of Musa, the son of Walid the Hammdmi, being 
a trustworthy man, was appointed governor of 
Multan. " 

Now Brahman&bad — a fancy name by-the-by, 
because the word is half Sanskrit, half Persian, 
consequently wholly un-Sindian — was one of the 
principal cities in Sind, and the fortress of Multan 
has ever been the " key of Western India." Yet 
the author dismisses them summarily as he does 
unknown Mahpur or obscure Bahijeh. 

The rhyming annalists (as amongst us in ancient 
times, there are poetic historians in the East) may 
be characterized as a body of court-flatterers, who 
select for their uninteresting effusions some theme 
which sounds musical enough in the prince's ears to 
provoke his liberality. Both, poetic and prosaic, 
are full of such vehement, iterated, and unblush- 
ing falsehoods, that the perusal of their pages 
presently becomes a painful task. And, finally, 
there is a fatiguing monotony in the very stuff of 
Oriental history. Invariably some humble hero or 
small statesman, as in the Argentine Eepublic, 



Oriental History. 233 

raises himself in the world by his good sword, pen, 
or tongue. Either he or his son dethrones an effete 
dynasty and, with the full consent of the people, 
constitutes himself their rightful despot. In the 
course of three generations the new family grows 
old, imitates its predecessors, and produces nothing 
but a swarm of villains, cowards, and debauchees, 
the last of whom is, with rigid retributive justice, 
in due time dethroned by some other small states- 
man or humble hero. And so on. 

The history and geography of Sind in the olden 
time are equally and exceedingly unsatisfactory. 

A mighty contrast with Old Egypt, Young 
Egypt contains few memorials of by- gone ages, and 
no monuments of antiquity to occupy whole gene- 
rations of modern students. Hindu writers are all 
but silent upon the subject, infinitely as it interests 
their race, for whose glories they do not care a 
" brass farthing," as Mrs. Bull says. The Moslem 
accounts of it commence in the first century of the 
Hijrah. Concerning the mighty torrent of palseo- 
Sanskrit-speaking peoples which, many generations 
before our sera, poured from the bleak hills and 
blooming valleys of Central Asia to deluge the plains 
of Upper Hindostan, nothing but the bare fact has 
descended to us. Perhaps the most important result 
is that the river gave rise to the term " Indian," 
properly meaning a riverine of the Indus. But 
wonderful is the history of words. When your 
daughter recites, "Lo, the poor Indian," et sea., 
she little recks that she is applying to the savages 



234 Sind Revisited. 



of the New World the ancient and honourable 
racial name derived from the river you see before 
you. Ask her how the confusion arose. 

Briefly, between the trips which the Macedonians 
made down the Sindhu (Indus), in B.C. 326, and the 
march of the Moslem up its banks (a.d. 711), there 
is a hopeless blank of ten centuries. Though passed 
and repassed by the countless hordes that hurried 
eastward to enrich and enjoy themselves in 

" The land of fatal wealth and charms," 

not an inscription nor even a stone remains in the 
country to mark a single station. The province is 
a sloping surface of silt and sand, through which 
the Indus cuts its varying way with a facility that 
passes description. A few feet of brickwork built 
up in the bed might diverge the stream into another 
channel ; cause the decline and downfall of a 
metropolis and twenty towns ; convert a region of 
gardens into a silt desert, and transfer plenty and 
population to what a month before was a glaring 
waste. 

As regards the ancient course of the Lower 
Indus, infinite has been the speculation, the 
theorization, the dissertation, the argument, and 
the contradiction upon this much vexed, and now 
most vexatious subject. But listen to the voice of 
reason, as proceeding from one Dr. Lord (" Memoir 
on the Plain of the Indus ") : 

" The river discharges 300 cubic feet of mud in 
every second of time ; or a quantity which in seven 



Indus-Mud. 235 



months would suffice to form an island 42 miles 
long, 27 miles broad, and 40 feet deep ; which (the 
mean depth of the sea on the coast being five 
fathoms) would consequently be elevated 10 feet 
above the surface of the water. Any person who 
chooses to run out this calculation to hundreds and 
thousands of years will be able to satisfy himself 
that much may be done by causes at present in 
action towards manufacturing Deltas." 1 

This morning we pass over the long flat which 
occupies the right bank. The country looks less 
barren and desolate ; there are fewer heaps of drifted 
sand, and there is verdure besides that of Euphorbia, 
Asclepias, Parkinsonia, Capparis, Tamarisk, and wild 
Indigo. We acknowledge the presence of fields : 
little square plots, in lines of raised clay, to contain 
and distribute the fertilizing fluid drawn up by the 
Persian wheels from the canals and cuts that branch 
off from the main stream. At this season only the 
stumps and stubbles of maize and millet, wheat and 
barley, stud the hard, dry ground. But large scat- 
tered villages dot the plain, and the inhabitants look 
healthy and well-doing, compared with the pallid, 
squalid, meagre wretches in the Delta, who after 
every sentence complain of "Ghano Tap" (much 
fever). 

To-day's encamping ground is execrable, close to 
an expanse of ribbed sand and slimy pools whence 

1 The solid matter transported by the Nile is computed at 240 
millions of cubic yards per annum, or an area of 2 square miles 
50 feet thick. 



236 Sind Revisited. 



the waters of the inundation have just retired, and 
far enough from any village to prevent our procuring 
what man need never want in this corner of the 
East — milk. We must endure the discomfort as we 
best can. 

There, Mr. John Bull, lies our destination, Kotri, 
the "fortlet." Formerly it was a thick tope (grove) 
of date-trees, clothing the right bank of Father 
Indus. It had a small mud-enceinte for the defence 
and the protection of stores, one of those straight- 
curtained, round-towered, glacis-less things, under 
whose walls was dead-ground enough for a couple 
of regiments to dine in perfect safety. It had a 
habit of falling, too ; the saltpetre, in the sun-dried 
brick, ruins buildings as quickly as those Lilliputian 
miners the white ants, or the teredo navalis in the 
Lower Indus. This was the chief station of the old 
Indus Naval Flotilla, a branch of the Indian Navy, 
or Bombay Marine, appropriated to the navigation 
of the river whose name it bears. Consequently, 
a few scattered bungalows were run up by the 
officers, and a foul Mzar of mud-huts, thatched 
with foul palm-leaves and crowded with foul 
natives, supplied the wants of the small flat- 
bottomed steamer-fleet anchored to the bank. 
There was no Travellers' Bungalow, as usual in 
those days, where these refuges for the destitute 
were most wanted ; and the necessity of pitching 
tents added to the discomfort of arrival at so-called 
civilized places. There were compatriotes within 
hail ; there was a library, a billiard-room, a mess, 



Kotri. 237 

an acquaintance or two ; there were petticoats as 
opposed to " Ghagris " (native skirts) ; but how 
were we to leave our canvas-homes ? The place was 
somewhat advanced ; consequently, it was literally 
full of plunderers. Even the housebreaker was not 
unknown, and a whipping-scene generally opened 
the day. 

Now mark the differentia, and note how the 
Kail way, the Steamer, and the Telegraph have 
overshadowed everything in these places. The 
northern bank has been fronted with a masonry 
quay, along which the rails run, with a dwarf 
wooden pier, and with Ghats, or flights of landing- 
steps. The most noteworthy buildings are the station, 
which is to be enlarged, the goods-sheds, and the 
tall tower of the water-tank. The two huge telegraph- 
masts for the aerial line are our landmarks from 
afar: their elevation, 150 feet, was expected, but fails, 
to keep the wires clear of " country "-yard- arms. The 
Indus Flotilla, now entitled the " Sind, Panjab, 
and Delhi Eailway Steamers," proudly bear their 
own flag, a red cross upon a white ground, and are 
provided with an excellent floating dock worked 
by hydraulic pressure — you see that huge ruddy 
hull, contrasting with the white paddle-boats ? 
The few bungalows have been multiplied or 
enlarged for offices. The dirty bdzdr is a tolerably 
cleanly affair, away from the river, and lining 
Miyani Eoad ; it contains the usual trio of requi- 
sites : the pakka market (brick and mortar), the 
Kardar, or petty judge, and the Faujddr, a native 



238 Sind Revisited. 



chief of police. There is a neat Travellers' Bun- 
galow, where, they say, you are served by the 
Goariese messman with a decent dinner. Mr. Edulji 
keeps a boarding-house and billiard-room but, 
unfortunately, it is also a liquor-shop, much 
frequented by railway-guards, engine-drivers, and 
so forth. There is a band-stand under the trees 
on the river-bank, and there are two fine 
spacious gardens which yield excellent fruit, flowers, 
and vegetables — here we speak of the "mango 
crop." One belongs to Mr. A. Wilkins, Superin- 
tending Indus Flotilla ; the other to certain 
Banyans, who resent intrusion by demanding 
" bakhshish ; " the latter, of course, prefer something 
that pays — onions and greens, for instance — to the 
vanity of flowers. 

The old British fort has been provided with a 
front- verandah, and converted into a civil hospital : 
the towers of the back -part are level with the 
ground, and the new part of the building contains 
the stores of the Indus Flotilla. We will visit it, 
despite the absence of Dr. Keelan, to inspect a 
spirit-specimen of the famous Biscobra, the Chan- 
dangii of Gujrd-t, generally called the poisonous 
lizard ; the Sindi " Khann " opposed to the harm- 
less " Gohiro," or Monitor, and to the " Giloi," or 
common lizard of the sand-hills, the latter eaten by 
some castes. This lacerta varies from 8 to 10 
inches in length ; the head is distinctly ophine, 
and its triangular flatness, combined with the thin- 
ness of the neck, mimics the Thanatophidia : the 



The Biscobra. 239 



succedaneum for a tail is a knobby knot much 
like a small gherkin. The young are patched white 
and purple ; after maturity they become a muddy- 
green and buff. The Biscobra is so rare that many 
old Anglo- Sindis have never seen one : it usually 
haunts rubbish-heaps, old stables, and deserted go- 
downs. Lately three were found in the Kotri-fort. 
There is a curious coincidence in the statements 
that its bite is certain death. Captain Hutchinson, 
commanding the I. F. S. S. Frere, assured me that 
a boy had lately died four hours after the wound, 
and Colonel Beville also believed in a similar event 
in Gujrdt. The specimen examined in the Civil 
Hospital showed what seemed to be fangs ; but 
they were very small, and apparently unadapted to 
drain a large poison-bag. 

Kotri, having its tw^o Churches, Catholic 
and Protestant ; Government School, Library and 
Mechanics' Institute ; Travellers' Bungalow and 
Municipal Garden; Civil Hospital and "lock up," 
now politely termed " subordinate jail ; " Dharam- 
sald, or lodging for native travellers, and Dhak, or 
cattle-pound, a civilized institution found in every 
part of our Province, at length aspires to reach 
a Sanitarium. The rough road to the North is 
swept by an almost constant gale, objectionable 
for descending steamers; and at Galiun, on the 
left bank, the village at the head of the new 
Phuleli, some four and a half miles up-stream, a 
floating-hospital might offer a certain change of 
air. During the south-western monsoon the sea- 



240 Sind Revisited. 



breeze there is strong and regular, whilst it fails at 
Haydaralbad. Indeed, there seems to be no reason, 
save medical crochets about fever and freshets, why 
the whole camp should not have been built upon 
this charmingly picturesque reach, some 1800 feet 
wide, formed by the left bank of Father Indus. 
No one feared agues at the old Eesidency ; and the 
stone-pitched river- wall has been found sufficient to 
keep out the floods, which are far more redoutable 
at Kotri. Popular report declares, that next to Disd,, 
HaydaraMd is the least sickly station in Western 
India ; but the latter now never numbers 300 
white faces, and, if not fatal on paper, its glaring, 
glittering, glowing site upon a yellow ridge of arid, 
barren, naked rock, swept by a furnace blast, that 
threatens heat — apoplexy, renders it one of the 
most uncomfortable in the Province. 

There is little improvement in the morality of 
Kotri. The Sindi has preserved all his hereditary 
taste for petty larceny ; and when he or some 
impudent Hindi breaks into your house, the Deputy- 
Collector, far from daring to flog him, will "give 
him seven days" — whereat he inwardly chuckles. 
On the other hand, the steam-ferry is a great change 
for the better. Formerly there was a boat, which, 
after poling up-stream and being carried far down 
by the current, landed you at the " Entrenched 
Camp." The scene of embarkation gave rise to 
many a comedy of riding and baggage beasts. Some 
of the horses hopped into the conveyance readily as 
Icelanders ; many required a rope to the foreleg, and 



The Old Ferry. 241 



a long pole applied by two boatmen to the hind- 
quarters of the recusant, till it had nothing to do 
but to fall upon its nose or spring into the boat. 
The camels were embarked from an inclined earth- 
plane leading to the water's edge ; they fought 
hard till four men hauled away at the rope tied 
round the fetlock of the near arm, whilst a dozen 
pushed and hammered at the rear. With ten 
beasts this part of the play usually wasted four 
hours. 

The old ferry lasted till 1854. Now there is a 
steam -barge, annually leased out on contract and 
commanded by a Parsi captain, and at the civil- 
ized wooden and matted bridge, even a wild camel 
would hardly boggle. Instead of landing you oppo- 
site the ex- Agency, whence a dusty, rutty slip of 
plain, called a road, led to Haydardbdd, you are 
disembarked straight opposite Kotri ; and here 
you find the conveniences of two ferry-stages, 
a rest -house, and a carriage-shed. The clump of 
mud- booths and hovels is the old Gidii jo Tando, 
now raised to the rank of Gidii Bandar ; and 
hence the favourite evening ride and drive, a 
fine pakka road, with abundant mile-stones, and 
a treble avenue of trees, mostly Nim, deposits 
you, after three miles and a half, in camp. 
Barouches-and-pairs by the dozen await the arrival 
of steamers : the main objection to them is the 
unrighteous use of the whip ; the Jarvey genus 
is bad enough at Bombay; here it is pernicious 
bad. You find some incoherence in the curious 
vol. i. 16 



242 Sind Revisited. 



contrast of civilization and semi-barbarism : a Lon- 
don carriage degraded into a hackney, and filled 
with Banyans in the uncleanest cottons, who pay 
a few coppers for the privilege of mimicking the 
ruling race. But, as you say, Aden was worse. 

For the sake of auld lang syne we must visit 
the Agency and old road. I last saw the former in 
1849 : it was then a humble building, somewhat 
in the form of a six-dozen claret-chest, magnified 
and white-washed ; with a barren court-yard on 
the east, and a garden, grove, and sundry small 
bungalows to the south. Now it is a dismal ruin, 
with nothing standing but a shell of inner hall ; the 
spectacle takes away my breath. The outer wall, 
which, loop-holed and banquette'd, had driven off 
the host of Beloch swordsmen headed by Mir 
SMhddd, is level with the onion-growing ground, 
and the whole compound has become a neglected 
grove of sombre Babuls. Who would fancy that 
the defence of that wall by the Light Company of 
H.M's. 22nd Eegiment, under Captain Conway, 
directed by Major Outram, had ever given rise to 
a treatise on the defence of field-fortifications ? 
Surely it would be well, even at the expense of 
a few rupees, to keep up a place to which so many 
and such mighty memories cling ! Our utter want 
of sentiment in this matter is not honourable to us, 
Mr. John Bull, and, as far as Sind is concerned, our 
main work has hitherto been that of adding modern 
to ancient ruins. 

Behind the Agency stands, or rather leans, the 



The Old Road. 243 



large bungalow built by the late Captain Stack, one 
of the worthies of the Province, who, after long 
years of hard labour, published the first Anglo- 
Sindian Dictionaries, one of them containing some 
12,000 words. 1 The Agency-bazdr has changed its 
name to Mir Khan Lori jo Tando, as if to show 
how speedily Sind can recover from the stranger's 
transient rule. The late Hasan Ali, one of the 
Talpur Amirs, had established himself, with garden, 
villa, and dispensary, close to the scene of conflict 
which began the ruin of his race. And the only 
building in a fair state of preservation is the small 
whitewashed block of masonry which covers the 
descent of the underground- wires — this, also, is 
typical of the times. 

The old road forms by far the more picturesque 
approach to Haydarabad. It begins with a pair of 
glorious fig-trees, surrounded by broken-down stone 
benches : I was not wrong, you see, sir, in fore- 
casting (1850) that "the trees, if watered, and not 
eaten by goats, will shadow the next generation ; " 
they have now grown to a thin forest of tamarind 
and mimosa. The approach to the ex-capital is highly 
characteristic. Emerging from the grove, and the 
network of canals and watercourses which thread 
straggling crops of thorns and " fire-plants," we see 
on the left a spur of the ridge crowned by a round- 
towered and rain-streaked fort, the work of the 

1 " A Sindhi and English Dictionary," by Captain George Stack. 
Bombay American Mission Press, 1849. One vol. , 240 pages. Also 
" English and Sindhi Dictionary," 1851. 



244 Sind Revisited. 

Kalhoras ; inside it a long flight of admirably 
stucco'd steps leads to the gaudy shrine of Shah 
Mekkai, with its lattice-work of blue tiles. He 
was a native of Meccah, as his name denotes ; * 
he came, about a.d. 1260, from Herat to Sind, 
during the days when a Kafir Prince ruled 
Nerunkot, or HaydaraMd, and he has left a large 
progeny of Sayyids upon Indus' banks. I am 
rejoiced to see that the good old saint has not 
yet been "improved off." The tiger has left an 
empty cage ; but the cluster of houses at the foot 
still turns out loud clamourers for Cherimeri, the 
local " Bakhshish." Further on to the right you pass 
the burial-ground, which contains so many of the 
78th Highlanders and the 86th Eoyal Irish : after 
the fashion of the country, it is divided into Catholic 
(East) and Protestant (West) : moreover, it is in a 
most disreputable state ; many of the tombs, tilted 
up by weather and the jackal, are utter ruins, and 
the enceinte shows as much gap as wall. The 
general aspect of indecent neglect will, we hope, 
make some one take up arms in its defence. The 
contrast of this unseemly state of things with the 
English cemetery at Goa, kept in excellent order by 
the Portuguese, is not flattering to national pride. 
Here the fort looks its best, and here we used to 
enter by a sally-port which is now closed. 

The modern " Bellasis Road," so called after a 

1 Mr. E. B. Eastwick is clearly in error when he asserts 
(Murray's Handbook, p. 484) that "Shall Makkai was so called 
from his having made several pilgrimages to Makkah. " 



The Aqueduct. 245 



meritorious officer lately deceased, runs from Gidii, 
and has also its novelties. The first which strikes 
us is the aqueduct, raised upon a long line of arches, 
a " survival of the unfittest," an obsolete system 
which we once believed had not extended beyond 
the classical and the mediaeval ages. Mr. Eobert 
Brunton, C. E., must surely know his business best ; 
but has he never heard of a Kariz ? We can hardly 
conceive why the water was not taken from a 
higher horizon up-stream. The cost would have 
been increased ; on the other hand, three pumping 
engines are a serious and permanent drawback. 
Still, a bad aqueduct is better than none, and the 
ex-capital of Sind will be supplied with pure drink 
long before the actual capital. On the right of the 
road is a huge compound, the Insane Asylum, built 
by, and called after, Mr. (now Sir) Kowasji Jehangir 
Eeadymoney, opened in July, 1871, with eight 
wards for natives and one for Europeans, besides 
officers' quarters, hospital, and work-sheds. Scan- 
dalized by its size, we are somewhat consoled on 
hearing that this madhouse, formerly at Larkdna, 
is intended for all the cracked brains of Sind, not 
for a city-cum-camp numbering only 35,000 head. 
Where the road forks into three, we turn to the 
left, ascend a sharp pitch, and find ourselves upon 
a ridge, once a waste, where the straggling lines for 
the troops, and the bungalow of the Collector, my 
old friend Colonel Kathborne, once stood ; now it is 
a large and regularly laid out camtonment. The 
markedly new features are the stiff church of St. 



246 Sind Revisited. 



Thomas, turned askew to front east and west ; the 
huge Kacheri (court-house), with the short walls 
facing north and south ; the white-washed Travel- 
lers' Bungalow ; the large Telegraph-compound ; 
the substantial lines of the 1st Beloch Kegiment, 
and the " MunsifFs " office, two Gothic pent-houses 
— what Fury has extended this horror to long- 
suffering Sind ? — looking exactly like the porter's 
lodge of some pretentious suburban villa. You are 
now at Haydar&bad — the habitation of Haydar, 
the Lion. 



( 2^7 ) 



CHAPTER XIII. 

HAYDARABAD — FORT — TOMBS AND TOWN. 

Haydarabad, the ex-capital of Sind, occupies the 
central length of a Doab, or riverine islet, formed by 
the Indus, flowing three and a half miles to the 
west, and by one of its multitudinous branches, the 
Phuleli, a mile and a quarter eastward. The site 
of the city is a knobby ridge of limestone, a 
" Mukattam," called the Ganja hills, some thirteen 
miles long, and trending parallel with the river, 
north and south ; they rise a few feet above the 
silty alluvial plain, and here and there they break 
into dwarf cliffs ; you see the middle length at the 
Parsi Dakhmeh ("Tower of Silence") and the 
northern end at the tombs of the Kalhora kings. 
The fancied advantage to be derived from com- 
manding ground probably pointed it out in ancient 
times as a proper place for a stronghold ; its pagan 
name was Nerun-Kot or Neruns Fort; 1 the city 
was built by Ghuldm Shah Kalhora in a.d. 1768, 

1 Murray is in error (p. 483) when he makes it Nirankot, or 
" Water-fort." 



248 Sind Revisited. 



and it fell into our power immediately after the 
battle of Miyani, February 17, 1843. 

The Kila'ah, or fort, stands upon a spur of the 
long narrow ridge which carries the city. Its form 
is an irregular oval, about three quarters of a mile 
round, and containing some thirty-six acres. The 
enceinte is composed of tall crumbling revetments of 
ill- baked brick, thick at the base, thin at the crest, 
and resting internally against earth piled upon the 
natural rock. No angles, no outworks save engaged 
round-towers, and few embrasures for large guns. 
The spear- headed battlement of Persia runs along 
the crest to shelter matchlockmen, and these ram- 
parts coquets are rendered useless by the surface 
being broken into half a dozen spiky projections. 
Down the height of the wall are long apertures which 
our Iranian neighbours call Damagheh (nostrils) ; 
they act as drains and loopholes combined, and 
their peculiarities are the crossbars of whitewashed 
masonry, generally numbering five. The defences 
appear as if a few rounds of grape would level 
them with the plain : an appearance the reverse of 
deceitful, this boasted stronghold of the boastful 
Talpur being one of the weakest of the strong- 
looking fortresses in our corner of Asia. On the 
north side the citadel was separated from the city 
by a moat forty feet broad — not forty yards as Dr. 
Heddle made it — and the bridge led to one of those 
perversely-intricate main-gateways whose bastions 
and semicircular curtains have always yielded to 
a coup de main. This part is well preserved, and 



The Fort, Haydardhdd. 249 

the pavilion capping the inner tower is a favourite 
point with photographers. 

The Fort formed at once the place of defence, 
the treasury, and the residence of the native rulers. 
The interior was a haute-ville, with a promenade 
round the ramparts ; a densely crowded town of 
wynds, cul de sacs, and narrow, crooked lanes ; 
squarelets and guards ; Darbars and mosques, lines 
and barracks, Palaces and dwelling-houses, harem 
and stables. Many of the tenements, whilome the 
abodes of royalty, were spacious, and were made 
comfortable enough by the conquerors, especially 
after glass windows, here required for the cold season, 
were added to the wooden shutters. 

The ground-plan of Haydarabad Palace was laid 
out as follows. You entered by a dwarf door, more 
generally by a doorway without a door, opening from 
a narrow impasse into a quadrangular courtyard ; 
on your right was the private Musalld, or chapel, 
a low wall subtended by a stucco'd floor: opposite 
stood the stables ; on the left rose the kitchen, the 
servants' huts, and the offices, while the body of 
the house monopolized the fourth side. The dwell- 
ing-place consisted of a deep verandah, resting 
on wooden pillars and fronted by a chunam'd 
parapet : the men's, or public and state rooms, met 
you as you entered ; those of the Zenanah, the 
Harem, as you call it, were under arrest behind 
them : low doors connected the several items, and 
the interior was purposely made as dark as possible, 
to temper glare and to secure privacy. Some apart- 



250 Sind Revisited. 



ments were lined with gypsum and elaborately deco- 
rated with coloured arabesques, somewhat in the 
style of our stencilling ; the " painted chamber " in 
Mir Shahdad's house still shows the meeting of 
Eanjit Singh with Lord Lake ; and Major Outram 
yet sits drinking with his wife. The tinting gave 
a pseudo-Moorish look to the interior, and in the 
richest houses, the ceilings, with their large rafters, 
were lacquered, painted, and heavily gilt. Some 
of the rooms were revetted, like dairies, with 
painted tiles from Hald and Multdn. The inner 
walls held a number of Td,k, or niches, the cup- 
boards and safes of the East, and when I first saw 
them, in 1845, they were not a little dilapidated. 
The Amirs and their courtiers, taken by surprise at 
the results of Miyani and Dabbd, hastily box d and 
buried, more Asiatico, their gold ingots and jewels 
under the thresholds, in the house- walls, and in other 
places which a western would seldom visit with the 
hope of finding treasure. This secret, becoming 
generally known, caused abundant harmless excite- 
ment among the conquerers : Europeans as well 
as natives did little, for the first six months, but 
diligently rap with staves every foot of stucco, to 
judge by the sound whether the spot was hollow, 
and consequently worth the trouble of breaking 
into. There were, I believe, a few finds which did 
not reach the hands of the prize-agents. 

Let us now ascend, by one of its two winding 
staircases, the central Burj, or Thul, that tall round 
watch-tower which first announces the Fort. You 



Cairo and Haydardbdd. 251 

are struck by the resemblance of the view with 
the well-known panorama of the Cairene citadel. 
We stand upon the limestone range, a counter- 
part of Jebel Mukattam, and look westward over 
a river flowing upon a meridian. Beyond the 
mud-built city, the new town representing the 
Ezbekiyyeh, and the port-village, here Gidu, there 
BuMk, the tawny Indus, no unworthy brother of 
Father Nile, runs through its valley of glorious 
fertility, a dense line of the darkest verdure. 
Westward beyond the ribbon of greenery crouches 
the Kegistan, the "sand-land," the Desert ; of leonine 
hue flushing rosy in the rising sun-rays, and 
absolutely recalling the wild, waste Libyan shore. 
Here and there it is spotted with a conelet and 
a rock -buttress, keeping the bed from wandering 
westward, and realizing the Koranic idea — El- 
jibalu autdd — the hills are tent-pegs, viz., to pin 
down Earth. Even the minutiae correspond after 
a fashion. The big round tower, the " native " 
enceinte, and the arched aqueduct are features 
common to both, while the ruinous mausolea of the 
Kalhora princes remind you of the desolate tombs 
of the Mamluk Kings. Even though Pyramids are 
wanting, the battle-fields of Miyani and Dabba, 
visible on clear mornings, remind you of the far- 
famed Napoleonic victory. You have seen, and 
you will see, many points of resemblance between 
the valleys of the Indus and the Nile, but none, 
perhaps, so striking as this. Yet national pride 
again has a fall ; Nature is the same in both, but, 



252 Sind Revisited. 



alas for our works of art ! Egypt is governed by 
her own people, Sind by the careless stranger. 

The windmill-like bastion of huge proportions, 
on which we stand, was erroneously supposed to 
have been the treasury of the Amirs ; now it bears 
a flag-mast and four guns, and around it are the 
ruins, dating from 1857, when the interior was 
cleared. Within the northern entrance, the 
" painted chamber " has become a State prison, 
containing Sayyid Salim of Maskat, and opposite 
it, another antiqua domus is condemned to a 
similar destiny. Near them are a quarter-guard, 
turned into a library and faced by two guns, and 
a tank, of pakka masonry, still building. The 
whole of the western extremity is occupied by a 
huge arsenal of brick and tile, a circle broken into 
sixteen angles, and showing an interior of magnifi- 
cent distances. It still contains some of those 
marvellous Jacob's rifles, four-grooved, and provided 
with a kind of rapier-bayonet ; and Captain Burgess, 
E.A., who is in charge, will show us a curious 
blade, probably French, made at Haydarab&d in 
the Dekhan, whose trade-mark somewhat resembles 
that of famed Andrea di Ferrara. 

With the exception of a guard-house at the gate 
and a few trifling remnants, the rest of the terre 
pleine is a desolate broken surface, a field of grisly 
ruins, showing where we have pulled down and not 
rebuilt. I could hear nothing of the large pit, 
or pits, sunk in the solid rock, like Joseph's Well 
in the Cairene citadel. There was a something 



Haydardbdd. 253 



remarkable in their semblance, and the Sindis, as 
is the wont of barbarians when anything natural 
or artificial strikes the eye, assigned to them a 
highly fanciful origin. These are the works of 
demon hands, shafts sunk in the rock at a time 
when an idol-worshipper was Lord of Nerun-kot, 
for the fell purpose of incarcerating Shah Mekkai, 1 
alias Mall Mahmud, Mohammed the Brave, that 
holy personage whose mortal remains rest in yonder 
south-western shrine. 

We now issue by the Northern Gate, and follow 
the Tahir-Bazar-Roacl, which skirts the native town. 
This thoroughfare has on the left a masonry drain, 
and to the right the naked limestone foundation 
of the citadel, especially conspicuous about the old 
wicket. Ancient Haydarabad contains nothing 
worth describing. It is a mass of terraced mud- 
houses, with here and there a dome, a minaret, 
a bit of bdzar, or a heap of ruins. The principal 
habitations are double or many-storeyed structures, 
extensive as to area, with naked, glassless windows, 
placed jealously high, and with dependent court- 
yards carefully invested, like Somersetshire fields, 
by stiff-looking walls of puddle. The improve- 
ments are the disappearance of many pent-roofed 
hovels, and the exchange of dark, narrow, dusty 
or muddy alleys for broad streets, which, however, 
catch the sun, and harbour the wind. 

Amongst the things of the past are the tall 

1 My first edition furnished what Murray calls (p. 484) "a 
ludicrous and apochryphal legend about this worthy." 



254 Sind Revisited. 



flag-staves : when a brother officer forwarded home 
certain sketches for publication, the artist kindly- 
provided them with yards and sails. Almost all 
the tenements boast of verandahs, and here we are 
deep in the region of Bdd-girs, or wind-catchers. 
You see, on every roof, these diminutive screens 
of wattle and dab, forming acute angles with the 
hatches over which they project. Some are 
movable, so as to be turned to the south-west 
between March and the end of July, when the 
monsoon sets in from that quarter. The wind, 
rushing down a passage in the wall, enters the room 
by a slit on a level with the floor : in England you 
are still studying " Tobinization," that is, how not to 
let in the cold heavy draught just under the ceiling, 
where it presses down and thickens the impure stra- 
tum. We have learned much from barbarians, Mr. 
John Bull : the suspension bridge is nothing but the 
swinging cradle of Peru and the Himalayan Jhula, 
or twig-bridge. Yet there is one great drawback 
in these " breeze -catchers " : during boisterous 
weather they make your domicile a dust-hole. 
Haydar^bad is not far north enough to know the 
luxury of Tah-khdnds, or underground-rooms, where 
you may pass the awful length of a summer day 
dozing as coolly and comfortably as if you were 
on the Rhine or in the Pyrenees. You will see 
them first at Shikd-rpur. 

Except in the main thoroughfares, old Haydar- 
dbdd will show us little or no bustle ; and as we 
ride through it, the people, long accustomed to the 



Native Haydardbdd. 255 



presence of Europeans, scarcely glance at the "Bala," 
or endemic calamity, to whose horrors habit has 
hardened them. Anonyma knows that it is vanity 
to beckon us ; the Fakirs have learned the fallacy 
of begging from us; the curs have forgotten to 
bark at us, and even the juvenile population does 
not taunt us with Infidelity. Every here and there 
we see a Beloch soldier chaffering at a stall, and 
an officer's servant sauntering about in the luxury 
of indolence; but the numbers have sadly fallen 
off, and I suspect that the Haydarabadis would 
willingly see more of us. 

We resume our drive along the Taliir-B^zar- 
Eoad: I am bound for my old home, and, if you 
will accompany me, you shall not, sir, be over- 
troubled with reminiscences. Here novelties meet 
my eyes at every turn. The foul old Kangan- 
KhMi tank, the " crow-eaten," a favourite name in 
Sind, generally known as the "town tank," was 
a rough, unartificial pool ; an energetic municipality 
has made it a pretty piece of water, 60 yards broad 
and 400 long, crossed by a pair of bridges, flanked 
by two Ghats (flights of steps), and evidently a 
favourite place for gardens and country-houses. A 
little beyond it lies the Phuleli, half- river, half- 
canal, the latter, in Sind, having been originally 
constructed to resemble, as much as possible, the 
natural watercourse. From the bridge we look 
northward at the fork where the newest cutting 
joins the oldest : as the water and boats show, it 
now flows all the year round ; yet the people have 



256 Sind Revisited, 



had the sense to conserve the grand " TamashaY' 
or jollification, which greeted the first appearance of 
the flood in the merry month of May. On the right 
side also, a fine Ghat has been built, and the trees 
are thick and shady as of yore. 

The avenued road now leaves the prim police- 
station to the right ; we turn off left, and after a 
few yards, or a total of a mile and a half from the 
fort, we enter old Mohammed Khan's TdndaV or 
walled-village, which has now taken the name of 
Karam Ali Sam. It still boasts of two gateways, 
the inner divided from the outer by a turn to the 
left and another to the right, but half the external 
door lies on the ground, and Time, besides defacing 
the stencilling, and carrying off the painted tiles, has 
pierced a dozen gateways in the walls. At the 
second door we rattle the huge cylindrical padlock 
of iron to warn away the women ; and the old man 
who guards the place objects to our entering : he is 
easily satisfied by an explanation and a rupee. 

What a change within ! Some twenty-five 
natives, mostly negresses, haunt the houses which 
lodged our corps. The mess-house, to which so 
many recollections attach, still stands, thanks to 
its foundation of baked brick ; but the front is 
converted into an open stable for human beings. 
Here lived the actors in the famous " Phuleli 

Kegatta;" there W hatched all the troubles 

which prevented us feeling too happy. Yonder 

1 Not to be confounded with the better known " Mohammed 
Khan-ka Tanda," twenty-one miles south-east of Haydarabad. 



The Old Home, 257 



is the house which fell down, nearly crushing its 
inmate and his Munshi ; the fireplaces are still half 
filled up, and the floor is grown Math Yawasi, or 
camel-thorn. How small and mean are the dimen- 
sions which loom so large in the pictures stored 

within the brain. Here T played Peeping Tom 

upon his father and mother-in-law ; there B 

.temporarily buried the "young person" when the 
police-master gave orders to search the house. 
How strange are the tricks of Memory, which, 
often hazy as a dream about the most important 
events of man's life, religiously preserves the merest 
trifles ! And how very unpleasant to meet one's 
Self, one's " Dead Self," thirty years younger ! 

Adieu, old home ! I shall not perhaps see you 
again, but it is not in my power ever to forget you. 

We will change the scene, and drive to those 
distant domes of glittering white which you saw from 
the fort-ramparts. On the way, remark that hollow 
in the ground where the bricklayers are at work ; 
it will fill during the inundation, and the contents 
will fester slowly under a torrid sun, whilst the 
north-eastern winds will convey the aroma to city 
and camp. In my day Haydarabad was literally girt 
by these sheets of water, the remnants of the last 
summer-flood ; beautifully verdant above, thick as 
horse-ponds below, resting on beds of slimy mire, 
and walled by banks of dark purple mud. They 
are mostly abolished, and the dangerous pool to the 
north-west of the fort is now being lined with 

VOL. I. 17 



258 Sind Revisited. 



masonry. No wonder that the churchyards of Sind 
were so fearfully full, considering the short time 
that populated them. At Karachi the corpses of 
camels were allowed to poison the air, as if a little 
more death were really wanted. Thatha was a mass 
of filth ; and Haydarabad, Sakhar, and Shikdxpur 
had their miasma-breeding pools as close to the 
walls as any subaltern, sighing for "a bloody war or 
a sickly season," could desire. Something has been 
done in the paramount matters of drainage and 
cleanliness ; still there is much to do. Witness 
Haydardbad and her brick -pits, and Karachi with 
her fetid Chini backwater, and without her canal 
from the Indus. 

We pass over familiar ground made unfamiliar 
by change. I recognize the old artillery lines and 
the billiard-room, but not that fishmarket, nor the 
slaughter-house, built far more strongly than the 
Haydarabdd fort. That is John Jacob's house, 
upon which he spent Rs. 20,000, and which he 
sold for a song ; who but he would have fronted 
it east and west, thrown out those round towers, 
and have chosen a graveyard as the site of his 
home ? Again the huge enceinte of mud -wall, 
the deep well, and the long aqueduct' which Mr. 
Gillespie expected to carry water up-hill ; all these 
features of the enormous jail are utterly new. 

And now we are at the tombs of the kings, 
Kalhora and Talpur. They lie upon the furthest 
extremity of the Ganjd, ridge, and one glance tells 
you that those to the north are fine old works, 



The Tombs of the Amirs. 259 

whilst the southern are modern and miserable imita- 
tions. We will begin with the best of the series, 
that dating from a.d. 1768, and covering the 
saintly founder of HaydaraMd, Ghulam Shah 
Kalhora. Like the Makkai tomb, this is girt by 
a mud-fort, the work of the Talpurs ; you enter 
and find a large enceinte covered with the detritus 
of ruined graves. A platform of white marble, 
surrounded by balustrades of carved sandstone, 
supports the quadrangular edifice, which has a 
raised facade to the east : it supports a central 
main- dome, resting upon a polygonal drum, and 
there is a domelet at each corner. All the exterior 
was covered with the finest Kdsi or porcelain'd 
tiles ; but nothing has been repaired for the last 
forty years, and now, perhaps, it is too late : the 
casing bulges from the walls, and in places strews the 
pavement. The dark interior is remarkable chiefly 
for the tomb of Jay pur marble, which the Eajput 
artists seem to handle like wax ; the flutings of the 
open work are delicate in the extreme, and the 
general effect is a lacery of stone. The walls bear 
many inscriptions, amongst which we read : 

"Gttiilam Shah-i-Din, Khusrav-i-Dauran. 1 " 

And we see on the archway, amongst other verses : 

" The King of the World, Ghulam Shah, 
Before him the firmament kissed the earth." 

The platform on the roof is even more interesting. 

1 Ghulam (the Slave), King of the Faith, and Chosroes of 
the age. 



260 Sind Revisited. 



To the east we trace the course of the old and new 
Phulelis, winding through the well-foliaged ground ; 
in clear weather we can distinguish the battle-field 
of Dabba, some four miles to the east, and a denser 
clump of trees shows, at about the same direct 
distance to the north-east, the mean and ugly- 
obelisk which commemorates the glories of Miydni. 
Many villages, sparkling like carnelians amid the 
emerald-green of the Nim-tree, speak well for the 
fertility of the plain. To the south-west lies new 
Haydarab&d, with its school tower, like that of a 
village church, its big jail, and other new-fangled 
accessories, whilst the old city is a dense' heap of 
dark houses, here sinking into suburbs that fine 
off into gardens, there prolonged by the ridge on 
which Camp stands. In this direction the Fort looks 
well, bounding and guarding the ex-capital with its 
curtains, its towers, and its tall donjon-keep. 

The Mujawir, or guardian of the tomb, informs 
us that the similar mausoleum immediately to the 
south, a polygon instead of a parallelogram, and 
provided with domelets ridged perpendicularly like 
a musk-melon, is that of Ghulam Nabi, a brother of 
Ghulam Shah, 1 dating from a.d. 1785. We condole 
with him upon the state of the beautiful tombs, 
and promise to make interest with the Collector, 
who, in turn, kindly promises to do all he can ; 
but what is that with an eighteenpenny rupee ? 
Our guide's chief anxiety, however, is to preserve 

1 The Gazetteer assigns it to Sarfaraz Khan Kalhdra, son of 
Ghulam Shah. 



The Tombs of the Amirs. 261 



his blue-rocks. 1 The English soldier, who dares 
not venture within the enclosure, flushes the half- 
tame and half-sacred birds by stone-throwing, and 
shoots them when out of bounds — this is Tommy 
Atkins all over ! 

The southern or Talpur group is, I have said, a 
a base imitation, a mere forgery, hardly worth a visit, 
except to study the decline of art. Here stencilling 
takes the place of porcelain tiles, and the curry-dish 
dome, with double finials, becomes a favourite form. 
The lines are stiff and ungraceful ; the work is 
cheap and mean, always excepting the actual tomb, 
which is of Jaypur marble, sometimes inscribed, and 
often inlaid with black patches, much in the shape of 
hearts and diamonds. The head-stones of the chief 
tenantry are adorned with real turbans of portentous 
size, and with long strings of mock-pearls. 

We will return home through New Haydarabad, 
which has risen since 1850. Beyond the jail begins 
the outbreak of schools. The battlemented clock- 
tower denotes the Engineering (public). Near it 
lodges the Protestant missionary, whose chapel, a 
pillar'd bungalow, is on the other side of the road : 
he presides at the Church Mission School (private). 
Beyond him is the Eoman Catholic missionary, who 
is building himself a house : he presides at the 
Catholic Mission School (private). Besides which 
there are the High School, which prepares for 
matriculation at Bombay ; the Normal ; the Anglo- 
Vernacular ; the Vernacular of two species, Moslem- 

1 The Columba intermedia, or common blue pigeon of Hind and 
Sind. 



262 Sind Revisited. 



Sindi and Hindu- Sindi, and, for aught we know, 
half a dozen others. I should not wonder, sir, if 
the new Revelation, the Endowment of Research, 
should first be proclaimed in Sind. 

" The age and body of the Time, his form and 
presence" are also shown by the ubiquity of the 
police. Here we have the Town-police, dressed in 
dark green with blue turbans ; the Armed police 
in Khaki (dust-colour), and drilled to use Brown 
Bess, besides the Secret-police, half a dozen de- 
tectives, periodically changed. Tappal Road shows 
us the post-office, and the large civil hospital, 
officers' quarters, and perfect " sick-bays " in their 
day. And, lastly, New Haydarab&d ends with a 
dozen blocks of European barracks, and with the 
Beloch lines to the south. 

The Sepoys are drilling, so we have an oppor- 
tunity of inspecting them. The Beloch element has 
been pretty well " eliminated ; " and the Pathan or 
Afghan is taking its place. Truth compels me to 
own that the men are no longer what they were : 
for this decline the military authorities have only 
to thank their own folly. As Irregulars, the 
privates enlisted only for five years ; when the good 
conduct of the corps, in Abyssinia and elsewhere, 
promoted them to the rank of Regulars (Nos. 27 
and 29, Bombay Native Infantry), the shorter term 
was changed to life-enlistment. This bane of the 
service may save money, although I doubt even 
that ; after fifteen years, when a man can be in- 
valided under a pension of Rs. 4 per mensem, he 



Colonel Seville. 263 



often becomes desperately home-sick ; lie malingers, 
and, with characteristic Eastern tenacity of purpose, 
he ruins his constitution for life. The good form of 
Highlander who once enlisted is now becoming un- 
known: he will not be bribed by a full pension of 
seven monthly rupees for which he must serve forty 
years, whilst there is none between that and fifteen 
years' service. 

My gallant friend, Colonel Beville, C.B., Com- 
manding No. 1, Beloch Eegiment, has obliged me 
with his views upon " The improvement of the 
pension rules of the native army — discharge of 
native soldiers — and abolition of annual invaliding 
committees;" and the opinions of so old and dis- 
tinguished a soldier, published in 1873, should not 
be withheld from you, Mr. John Bull. 

" The above subject is worthy of all our con- 
sideration ; indeed, it is one which I have long 
felt imperatively demands attention, as being con- 
nected so deeply with the contentment and efficiency 
of the native army ; my experience of many years 
leads me to regard the present pension rules as a 
failure. The discharge of native soldiers, and the 
present regulations for annual invaliding committees, 
are equally so. I am very certain that to a great 
extent they tend to encourage malingering; they 
cause great dissatisfaction throughout all ranks, and 
they seriously affect the efficiency of a regiment by 
men incapacitated from age and debility being 
retained ; and I am also very sure that they keep 
the most soldierlike race from enlisting. 



264 Sind Revisited. 



" In my own regiment, when originally raised, a 
man enlisted for five years, at the end of which time, 
if he elected for discharge he received it. If he 
wished to remain for a further period of five years, 
it entirely depended on his character and efficiency 
as to whether his Commanding Officer accepted his 
services. There was no pension, no gratuity, and 
never was a service more popular, as proved by the 
number of ' Oomedwars ' (cadets) always ready for 
any vacancy ; such a thing as a recruiting party in 
those days was unknown. 

"Let me, however, fairly record that the above 
system, though so popular with the men, had its 
disadvantages ; inasmuch as by the time a Sepoy 
had become an efficient and thoroughly drilled 
soldier, he had little more than half his service to 
run, and the number of recruits at drill, and men 
hardly fit to take the field, was unusually large. 

" But a change came o'er the scene, and 
good and faithful service in the field, when a 
regiment true to its colours and the Government it 
served was the exception in those days, induced the 
Government, ever ready to recognize meritorious 
service, to reward the regiment I refer to with all 
the privileges of the pension rules, transferring it at 
the same time to the line. Even at that period, 
knowing the class of men it was intended to reward, 
and to draw, if possible, into a more binding contract 
with the State, I urged the advantage of admitting 
the regiment to the benefit of the pension rules, but 
earnestly deprecated forcing on the men the enlist- 



Colonel Beville. 265 



ment for life system. I opined it would prove 
distasteful to them, and prejudicial to the efficiency 
of the corps. 

" To introduce in those days a healthier system 
was no easy matter, and according to regulations 
was the change carried out : the option, however, 
being given to all men to take their discharge on the 
expiration of the term for which they had enlisted, 
or, in accepting the pension rules, take the oath 
for life service. The very cream of the regiment, 
upwards of 400, accepted the former offer ; all 
entreaties and argument pointing out the advantage 
of the pension in their old age being so much waste 
of breath, the State losing as fine a body of soldiers 
as it has ever been my fortune to see. The utmost 
persuasion of myself and officers alone retained the 
remaining portion. Could more ample proof have 
been desired to show the correctness of the opinion 
I had formed ? I had obeyed the order, though it 
well nigh broke my heart. 

" Though a comparatively young soldier in those 
days, the responsibility of command had early de- 
volved on me, and it could not but induce me to 
ponder over what appeared such an extraordinary 
antipathy on the part of the men to the pension 
regulations, which ensured a provision for old age ; 
but the rapid diminution of ' Oomedwars/ and the 
necessity of sending out recruiting parties, all tended 
to show that, at all events, those ' most deeply in- 
terested ' did not regard them in the same beneficial 
lio-ht. Ten or twelve years' additional experience in 



•266 Sind Revisited. 



the working of these rules, and the system of annual 
invaliding, have shown to me beyond a doubt how 
ill adapted they are to carry out the intentions of a 
beneficent Government. Six years ago I officially 
recorded that 'enlistment for life' was the ruin of my 
regiment, and, I believed, the bane of the Native 
Army. I am more than ever confirmed in that 
opinion, and am impressed with the necessity for 
reform. 

"I would now submit for consideration a remedy 
which would be merely a combination of the original 
limited enlistment system, but with gratuity or 
pension regulations, under some such arrangement as 
follows : 

"Let all men be enlisted for a period of ten 
years ; at the expiration of that time let the option, 
to good and efficient men only, be given of a further 
period of five years, those who elect for discharge, 
those whom it may not be considered desirable to 
retain, to be discharged with a gratuity of six 
months' pay. After completion of fifteen years' 
service, the same arrangement as above, but with 
twelve months' pay as gratuity. Any man, however, 
in the opinion of the commandant and his medical 
officer physically unfit, to be pensioned on three- 
fifths of the present rates. After twenty years' 
service precisely the same course, but with eighteen 
months' pay as gratuity, and four-fifths of the present 
rate of pension if physically unfit. 

" After twenty-five years the full pension as at 
present laid down, 'fit' or 'unfit,' if asked for. 



Colonel Beville. 267 



"All annual invaliding committees I would 
abolish; they are destructive to the efficiency of 
a corps, while the principle of the system I propose 
will make the commandant and his medical officer 
wholly and solely responsible that their regiment 
is fit to march at a moment's notice, which I can 
unhesitatingly say is not the case at present. 

" It would, in cases, be found that from six to ten 
per cent, of the men would be unequal to the hardships 
of an Abyssinian or indeed any campaign. I may 
be wrong in the ratio I have fixed, that is a question 
which I have not sufficiently studied, as not being 
in my line. I am only desirous of endeavouring to 
the best of my abilities to point out what experience 
has shown me to be a faulty system, giving the 
principles of what I feel convinced would be an 
improvement, and trusting that more able writers 
than I am may be induced to take up their pen on 
a subject so deeply interesting to the native army. 

" If I am not mistaken, there are many who 
have served in that noble service, the old Panjab 
Irregular Force, who can give much valuable infor- 
mation on the working of the limited service versus 
enlistment for life system, and I hope those who can 
do so will not be backward in coming forward. 

" The contentment and efficiency of the native 
army is a vital subject to the Government we serve ; 
for, depend upon it, as the education of India pro- 
gresses, expensive armaments must decrease, the 
enormous expenditure of our European Forces must 
be reduced, rendering it more necessary than ever 



268 Sind Revisited. 



that our native army, by increased efficiency in all 
respects, may be equal to the duties which I am 
assured must ultimately devolve on it. 

" * Fidelis et constans ' must be its motto, and 
any lover of the old service (and I trust there are 
still many) who can aid the Government in bring- 
ing about that happy consummation should cheer- 
fully give the subject his thoughtful consideration. 

" The United Service Institution of India has 
happily been a great success, and the organizers of 
it have earned the gratitude of the army. It freely 
invites all to co-operate, I may say, in the instruc- 
tion of the army ; let that invitation be freely 
accepted, — it will tend much to rouse the zeal and 
the esprit de corps which formerly existed, and 
which has so sadly waned of late. The Native 
army has a brilliant future ; make it a contented 
service — disciplined, efficient, above all things, well 
armed and properly officered — and it will yet be 
a glorious service." 

Observe, sir, that my friend has hit the happy 
medium between over-long and over-short service, 
the latter now becoming the rule of Continental 
Europe, where national armies are taking the place 
of standing armies. A term of three years may 
make a soldier of the intelligent and well-educated 
Prussian ; but the system becomes a caricature, not 
a copy, when adopted by other nations. Before 
1848 the Austrian Army was one of the finest, if 
not the finest, in Europe. See what the three-year 
service has now done for it ! 



( 269 ) 



CHAPTER XIV. 

THE HINDUS OF SIND — THEIR RASCALITY AND 
THEIR PHILOPROGENITIVENESS. 

We pass a week or so at HaydaraMd, sir, to 
prepare your mind and body for the trips which I 
have in store for you. And now for a few words 
upon the subject of the native races. The popula- 
tion of Sind, " the extreme western limit to which 
Hinduism in these days extends/' is composed of 
Moslems and Polytheists. The former, being nearly 
four times the more numerous, represent the great 
mass of the community ; whereas the latter are, 
with few exceptions, the trading members of the 
social body. 

As I told you before, Sind, at the time of the 
Arab invasion (a.d. 711-12), like Afghanistan, Mul- 
tan, and the regions that lie to its north, was one 
of the strongholds of Hinduism. It is probable 
that many of the ancient Kajput families, who 
survived the capture of their country, escaped 
the persecution of their deistical conquerors by 
flying eastwards to Jaysalmir, and the adjacent 



270 Sind Revisited. 



provinces, where their faith was, and still is, the 
State-religion. The present Hindu population 
consists principally of the castes that have 
immigrated from the Panjab, Kachh, and Kathia- 
w£r ; this their language, dress, manners, and 
appearance amply testify, though now, naturalized 
in the country, all save their learned Pandits have 
forgotten the story of their origin. 

Late as the eighteenth century, the Hindus of 
Sind, we are in formed by a traveller, were ten 
times more numerous than the rival sect. Hin- 
duism, however, like Judaism, has ever been an 
eyesore to the Moslem, and the means which he 
adopts to remove it, although violent and unjust, 
are not the less efficacious. In Persia, for instance, 
the Jew is popularly supposed to sacrifice a Moslem 
child on certain occasions. Whenever a boy disap- 
pears, a hue and cry is raised ; requiring an object, 
it directs itself against the persecuted body : their 
houses are attacked and plundered ; they are 
dragged before the least impartial of judges ; their 
oaths and their testimony are regarded as the 
whisperings of the wind, and the scene ends 
either with the " question," or with au order to 
admit the accused into the ranks of the Faithful. 
And when once the proselyte's foot has crossed the 
threshold of the Mosque, all hope of retreat is 
permanently cut off, the punishment of apostacy 
from El-Islam being as certain as it is tremendous. 

In Sind the same cause, bigotry, modified for 
its purpose, worked the downfall of heathenism, 



Moslem Bigotry. 271 



which, had we not taken the country, would pro- 
bably not have outlived this century. 

The Talpurs, the last reigning family, came 
from the hills of Belochistan, and settled upon the 
sultry plains below, first as the disciples, then as the 
feudal followers, of the saintly ruling race which they 
at last dethroned. Years spent in the enervating 
climate of the Valley dulled the bravery and hardi- 
hood of the mountaineer, but left him all his 
ignorance and fanaticism, covetousness and cruelty. 
A Talpur chief of the last generation refused even 
to place a watch for repair in the hands of an 
accursed " But-parast," or idol- worshipper. 

In the West there are many, in the East few, 
exceptions to the Arabs' political axiom, 

" The prince is the religious pattern of his people ; " 

and here the subjects, seeing the sovereign's propen- 
sity for persecution, copied the model as closely as 
they could. 

No Hindu ventured to pronounce the name of 
the village Allahydra jo Tando, 1 because of the 
holy syllables that begin it ; he could not touch 
a paper written in the Arabic language, because 
that character was the character of the Koran ; or 
rather, I should say, supposed to have been the 
character by Oriental ignoramuses in palaeography. 
No one dared to open a Moslem book in his mother 
tongue, the Sindi, for fear of being seen to peruse 

1 The Village of " Allah's-friend "— the latter words being the 
proper name of some Moslem. 



272 Sind Revisited, 



the inceptive formula, " In the name of Allah, the 
Merciful, the Compassionate." It was always in the 
power of two Moslems to effect the conversion of a 
Pagan by swearing they saw him at a cockfight on 
Friday ; that he pronounced, in their presence, the 
word Mohammed ; or even that he had used some 
such ambiguous phrase as a I will go with thee." 
The Moslem Sindis in the present day deny these 
assertions ; the Hindus exaggerate them ; the truth 
lies between the two, and I believe them both. 

Sometimes circumcision was made the penalty 
of crime: when a Hindu Banyan, or shopkeeper, 
falsely charged a Sepoy of Dr. Burnes' guard with 
theft, the Amir at once ordered the Kazi to 
do his work upon the offender. Nothing easier 
than to make a Moslem in those days. The 
patient was taken before the judge, where, after 
being stripped of his old clothes, the ceremonial 
ablution was duly performed, and he was invested 
in the garments that denote the Faithful. A crowd 
of jubilants then chaired him to the Mosque ; 
prayers were recited over him, he was directed 
thrice to repeat Mohammed's creed, and if he did 
it fluently, a minor miracle was proclaimed to the 
world. Next came circumcision, the eating a bit 
of beef, a change of name, a feast, and, lastly, a 
very concise course of instruction in the ceremonial 
part of the new " True Faith." 

But the consequences of becoming a proselyte 
extended far enough. El-Islam, like many other 
beliefs, professing to respect the convert, despises 



Moslem Bigotry. 273 



and distrusts him. In Siod he was compelled to 
enter a certain caste, one of no high degree ; to 
marry in it, and to identify himself with the 
mongrel mass it contained. He rarely rose to for- 
tune or distinction ; and he seldom could command 
the respect of his co-religionists, who suspected 
the reality of his attachment to the strange creed, 
and his hankering after the idolatry of his fore- 
fathers. If, on the other hand, conscience or 
discontent drove the proselyte into a land where 
he might recant without danger ; or if an oppor- 
tunity, such as our seizure of the country, presented 
itself, the return to Hinduism, when practicable, 
was accompanied with many a disagreeable. In 
some towns, where Polytheists were few and could 
not afford to reject a wealthy and influential appli- 
cant, large presents to Brahmans, rigid expiatory 
penances, and a Tirtha or water-pilgrimage, were the 
price of re-admission to the religion of their ancestry. 
But this was not always possible. There were 
many places where the recanter was not received ; 
he had eaten the flesh of the cow, and he had 
drunk impure water ; for the rest of his life, 
therefore, he must dwell in the house of his family, 
an outcast, a defiled man, whose touch, like the 
leper's of yore, was pollution ; separated from his 
wife, powerless over his children, with nothing but 
the dreary prospect, held out by his gloomy faith, 
to console him under a life of uncommon trials. 

With the vulgar, the excitement of making one 
convert bred a desire to make another and yet 

VOL. I. 18 



274 Sind Revisited. 



another. When opportunities were rare, they were 
obliged to content themselves with mobbing the 
Pagans : Friday, the Moslem Sunday, being generally 
selected as the time for these small St. Bartholomew 
displays. There were few towns in which a Hindu 
could safely leave his house between Thursday 
evening and Saturday morning. 

All this the persecuted race endured doggedly 
in the spes finis. Sulking under the sabre-sway 
of their rulers, they revenged themselves indirectly ; 
upon the lower orders by grinding the faces of the 
Moslem poor ; upon the upper classes by acquiring 
power to be abused, by fomenting intestine and 
family feuds, by corrupting the principal officers of 
the State, and by sadly confusing all ideas of entente 
cordiale with neighbouring and allied kingdoms. 
Thus, despicable and despised as they were, they 
failed not to prove themselves essentially dangerous. 
And the same were the position and the conduct of 
the Jews in Syria, before a kind of constitutionalism 
made all faiths theoretically equal. 

Superiority of intellect was on their side. The 
Hindu has a mathematical and arithmetical mind ; 
the Moslem is, generally speaking, notably deficient 
in the power of mastering the exact sciences, the 
exceptions being the Egyptians, and some rare 
individuals amongst the Turks, Persians, Arabs, 
and Moors. This I believe to be the first cause 
of a phenomenon which attracts every observing eye 
in India ; namely, that when the Polytheist and the 
Monotheist meet on equal terms, the former either 



Hindu Courage. 275 

ruins or subjects to himself the latter. Other 
qualities accompany this form or constitution of the 
brain in the worshipper of Brahma. The " mild 
Hindu," as we miscall him, is one of the most 
bloodthirsty of men. He is a dark and deep-seeing 
plotter, an admirable eventualist where anything 
villainous is the event : what land but India could 
have kept up Thaggi for centuries ? — what was the 
Fehmgericht (Vehme) of Germany, or the Fida- 
wiyyat of Hasan Sabali, 1 in organization, com- 
bination, or duration, compared with it ? He is 
remarkable for passive courage, in suffering braver 
than any woman : he will inflict injuries upon 
himself with the sang J void of a Lesena, provided 
you hold out to him the one inducement, wealth. 
With the money for his rent or his debt concealed 
about his person, to be produced when things are 
going too far, he will allow himself to be suspended 
by his thumbs or his heels till he faints ; he will 
shriek under the lash, swearing that he has not a 
pice, and he will inhale finely-powdered cayenne 
with all the endurance, but very little of the 
stoicism, of a North American Indian. His con- 
stancy requires nothing but a cause to dignify it. 
Such is his passive courage. At the same time, 
place a weapon in his hand and point to the brist- 
ling breach ; desire him to charge up to a gun like 
an Afghan or a Turkoman, he will look at you, 

1 Or Sayyah— about his name annalists still differ— the Grand 
Master of the Assassins, and organizer of that remarkable order. 
See Chapter xi. 



276 Sind Revisited. 



remonstrate, hang back, turn tail. This is not his 
pluck. Eemember, I am speaking of the Sind 
Hindu, not of the Sikh, the Kdjput, the Nayr, and 
other races which are educated to active courage, if 
I may use the expression. Finally, he is a " fly- 
sucker," as the people say, a lean, parsimonious, 
half- naked wretch, living, with lakhs at his com- 
mand, on coarse bread and sugar- arrack ; when the 
Moslem with a few thousand rupees would be faring 
sumptuously, and emptying his purse upon silks 
and satins, horses and dancers. Nor is this thrifti- 
ness by any means a despicable quality : it goes 
hand in hand with indefatigable industry. 

At last Hindu arts prevailed, as might be ex- 
pected, over the strong arm. The younger Talpur 
Amirs, the sons and nephews of the original Ch&r- 
Yar, or the four friends and brothers who expelled 
the Kalhora dynasty, acknowledged their utter 
inability to dispense with heathens in managing 
their miserable territory : a score of them could not 
govern a country about the extent of England and 
Wales. Nor could they collect their paltry revenue, 
though the total produce of the province was not 
greater than the income of a British richard of the 
second or third class. The Princes had degenerated 
from the hardy savage virtues of temperance, sobriety, 
and morality affected by their progenitors ; they 
devoted to pleasure the time demanded by business, 
and they willingly entrusted to the hands of Ban- 
yans, most unjust stewards, the management of 
their estates, and in some cases of their subjects. 



Hindu Thrift. 277 



Hence, even in the days of the Amirs, the Hindus 
and the Moslems were divided into two classes, 
creditor and debtor, the money-lender and the 
money-borrower. 

The worshipper of Brahma eminently possesses the 
peculiarity usually attributed to the middle-class and 
the lower orders of Scotchmen ; the habit of carrying 
out in practice what all people admit in theory, 
the truth that "blood is thicker than water." The 
Hindu no sooner establishes himself upon a firm 
footing than he extends a helping hand to his 
family generally, even to his cousins twenty degrees 
removed. Nor does he stop here. Eelations may 
be expended : the " caste-brother," as he is called, 
cannot. Thus the rulers of Sind were soon sur- 
rounded by a host of civil officers, revenue- collectors, 
secretaries, and scribes, all of the same persuasion, 
all playing into one another's hands, and all equally 
determined to aggrandize themselves, their family, 
and their race, no matter by what means. The 
result of this almost unopposed combination was 
that the Princes, notwithstanding their powers of 
life and death, the " tabby-cat " and circumcision, 
were never safe from frauds so barefaced that it 
moves our wonder to hear them told. The Billi, or 
" she-cat," I must tell you, was an indigenous 
instrument of torture, furnished with claws to tear 
the flesh of the questioned. 

Of Menu's four great divisions we here find only 
three : the Brahman, the Waishya (trader), and the 
Shudra, or servile man. The second caste, royal 



278 Sind Revisited. 



and military, in Sind, as elsewhere, is of doubtful 
origin: every follower of Nanak Shah, 1 even were 
he the son of a sweeper, assumes to himself the style 
and title of Kshatriya. The social position of the 
race jDrevents its putting forth that multitude of 
outcaste- branches which, like the Mings and MMrs, 
the Pasis, and Chandalas of India, spring up from 
the transgression, voluntary or involuntary, of a 
single arbitrary religious ordinance. 

The Sind Brahman is by no means an orthodox 
specimen of his far-famed class. His diet is most 
inaccurate. Although he avoids beef and fowls, he 
will eat fish ; also the flesh of wild birds and certain 
meats, such as venison, kid, and mutton ; he shrinks 
not from the type of creation, an onion, and he 
enjoys the forbidden luxury of strong waters. 
Instead of confining himself, as he should do, to 
the study of grammar and the Scriptures, to his 
prayers or to his " pastoral duties," he may be seen 
bending over the ledger, squatting on a counter, 
and even exercising the command of a kitchen. 
When we first took the country, Brahmans owned 
to me that their fellow caste-men sometimes actually 
married widows ; but of late years, after being 
soundly rated by the Hindostani Sepoys, whom they 
respect, they seldom contract these irregular and 
impure unions. 

1 A Kshatriya of the Dedi tribe, born a.d. 1469, at Talwandi, 
near Rajahpur, in the Lahor Pargana" ; early converted to Nagornai, 
or Theism ; travelled in Arabia, Persia and Hindustan ; denied 
that he could work miracles ; founded the Sikh faith ; died a.d. 
1540, and was buried at Kirtipur on the banks of the Ravi river. 
His disciples and successors were the " Gurus." 



The Sind Brahman. 279 

There are two principal families of priests in 
Sind, the Pokarno and the Sarsat. The former, 
supposed to have immigrated from Upper India, 
worship Vishnu, the second person of the Hindu 
Triad ; support themselves by judicial astrology 
and ceremonial law ; marry in their own caste, and 
claim from their ecclesiastical brethren a superiority 
which the others admit by receiving the "water 
of their hands." The Sdrsat, or Sarsudh, properly 
Sdxaswatiya, from the Saraswati river, are worship- 
pers of Shiva, the Destroyer, and of Devi, his 
Sakti, wife or active form : in education, appearance, 
and manners, they exactly resemble the votaries of 
Vishnu. 

Knowledge amongst Sind Brahmans means a 
slight acquaintance with the simpler parts of Sans- 
krit grammar, and sufficient of the classical language 
to understand oft-read works upon astrology and 
magical formula, and the volumes that contain the 
intricate practice of their faith. Some few have 
perused the Shri Bhagawat, fifth of the eighteen 
Purdnas or religious and quasi-inspired poems ; and 
here and there an individual has had the industry 
to form a superficial acquaintance with the Sanhita 
or Summary of the Yajur, the White Veda. The 
increased facility for travelling to distant lands 
with a possibility of return, has of late years induced 
several Brahmans to venture far from the banks of 
the Indus, to wander amidst the classic shades of 
Kdsi (Benares), and to sit in the colleges of Cal- 
cutta : the extent of their acquirements proves that 



280 Sind Revisited. 



the race is by no means deficient in power and 
intellect. Few of the priestly order, except when 
engaged in commerce, know anything of the Persian 
language : they consider it a profane study of erotic 
verses, "light literature," and tales ill-suited to the 
gravity of a churchman and a scholar. But they 
have little objection to the compositions or even the 
tenets of that mild heretic, Nanak Shah, the apostle 
of the Sikhs, principally, I presume, because the 
mass of his followers praise and honour, revere and 
fee, the Brahmans. 

The Brahman in Sind shaves his head, leaving 
a single lock upon the poll ; he removes the beard, 
and induces the mustachios to droop heavily over 
his mouth, in order to distinguish them from the 
closely-clipped honours of the Moslem's upper lip. 
Upon his forehead he places a horizontal or a per- 
pendicular mark indifferently, whereas in India the 
perpendicular " Tilak," as it is called, distinguishes 
the adorer of the Preserver from the worshipper of 
the Destroyer. His dress is generally that of a 
common Sahukar, or trader, a white or red turban, 
the Pokarno preferring the red, the Sarsat the 
white ; an Angarkha, or cotton coat with a very 
short body, tight sleeves, and long flowing skirts ; 
a Dhotar, or waist-cloth, generally salmon-coloured 
with an ornamental edge, bound round the middle ; 
a shawl or a CMdar (sheet) thrown loosely over the 
shoulders, and the peculiar Sind slippers of anything 
but of leather. In his hand is a sandal- wood rosary 
of twenty-seven grains ; and constant habit has 



The Sind Banyan. 281 



gifted him with the power of muttering and telling 
his beads mechanically ; and rings of gold, set with 
pearls, adorn the lobes and shells of his ears. A 
few Sarsat Brahmans dress in the style affected by 
the Amils, or Revenue officers : the Pokarno, how- 
ever, consider the costume unclerical, and eschew it 
accordingly. 

Of the Wani, Banyan, or trader-caste, there are 
five great families in this country, the Lohana, the 
Bhatia, the Sehta, the Panjabi, and those called 
Waishya : the latter word, properly meaning the third 
or trading class of Hindus generally, is here used in 
a limited sense to signify operatives and mechanics, 
opposed to merchants and shopkeepers. According 
to the wont of Hinduism, each division is split into 
a number of insignificant bodies, who have their 
proper names : these are derived from their place of 
residence, or from peculiarities of dress and appear- 
ance, and are perpetuated by their furious esprit de 
corps, and by their violent jealousies of one another, 
when the absence of a common foe allows them to 
indulge in the luxury of envy, hatred, malice, and 
all uncharitableness. Most significant, too, are 
some of their taunts. For instance, the Lohand, in 
general, say of the Khuda-wadi, one of their sub- 
divisions : 

" KhuddwAdi Khudd khe ghere wan j an : " 
The KhudaVd,di deceive the Khudd, (Self-existent One ; God). 

A dull pun, but a sharp cut at the excessive 
cunning of that race. The Hindus are litigious as 
the Moslems, only they prefer the civil courts, 



282 Sind Revisited. 



whilst their rivals resort as readily to the criminal 
tribunals. There is no Sindi, however wild, that 
cannot now understand " Easld " (receipt) and 
"Apfl" (appeal). 

Divided according to their occupations, the Sind 
Banyans are of two classes. The multitude employs 
itself in commerce, sometimes in cultivation ; the 
select few become officers under Government, and 
take the title of Amil. 

The Sind trader has lived so long amidst, and 
in subjection to, the stranger, that he has uncon- 
sciously, but palpably, emancipated himself from 
much of the galling bondage of a faith, which fears 
progress as much as destruction. Tempted by the 
hope of wealth, he has wandered far and wide from 
his native shores, to sojourn for years in lands where 
nothing but a popular prejudice, expressed by the 
proverb : 

" It is ill-omened to slay a Hindu, a Jew, a woman, and a dog," 

preserves him from destruction. And when he 
returns from the lands of the Mlenchha, the mixed, 
impure, and non-Hindu races, he is honoured instead 
of being excommunicated by his fellows. As he 
is accustomed to long voyages, he sits down on 
board ship, and boldly " cooks bread/' instead of 
crunching parched grain, like the Indian. The diet 
prescribed by his religion being unsuited to cold 
countries, it is quietly laid aside for one more 
generous and cosmopolitan. He eats flesh without 
the animal being killed by a single sword-cut in 



The Sind Banyan. 283 



the name of the Sikh "Guru." He uses leather- 
slippers, with the points flattened upon the vamp. 
He shaves only the back of the head, leaving, like 
the Jew, long love-locks on either side ; and for a 
turban he^ substitutes a red embroidered cap with 
a fork behind. So also he has diminished his 
ablutions ; he has extended his potations to " Jagri," 
a kind of rum distilled from molasses, and in many 
other little ways he has so dressed and trimmed his 
original rigid Hinduism that it has become as 
presentable a thing as its natural awkwardness and 
want of adaptability permit it to be. 

The Banyan receives but a scanty education. 
After learning a few religious notions and cere- 
monies, quackeries and nostrums, he goes to a 
schoolmaster, who teaches him to read and write 
the alphabet, and to explain the mysteries of the 
character which enters into his father's books ; to 
add and multiply only, subtraction and division 
being considered de trop, and to indite a formal 
letter of business. Nothing can be ruder than the 
symbols which denote his complicated accounts : it 
is a system of stenography which admits none but 
initial vowels, and which confounds the appearance 
of nearly a dozen distinct consonants. These con- 
clude his course of study : he then takes his place 
in the shop, where, if you please, we will leave him 
to cheat and haggle, to spoil and adulterate, and to 
become as speedily rich by the practice of as much 
conventional and commercial rascality, barely within 
the limits of actual felony, as he can pass off upon 



284 Sind Revisited. 

the world. His books have never yet been admitted 
as evidence in a court of law, as was the case with 
the Hindus of India, till, under our rule, they lost 
even that sense of honour. 

The Amils, or Government officers, the class 
created by the ignorance and inability of the Moslem 
rulers, are the most influential and, conventionally 
speaking, the most "respectable," body of Hindus 
in Sind. They are distinguished from their fellow- 
religionists by their attire. The bigotry of the 
court forbade them to shave their beards or to 
wear turbans : they lost the right of placing the 
" Tilak," or sectarian mark, on the forehead ; and 
they were compelled to trim the long drooping 
moustachios which the Hindu loves. Under the 
present regime, although sumptuary and costume 
regulations are utterly out of date, they still affect 
the Siraiki-topi, the peculiar Sindi cap, the English 
chimney-pot inverted, that is, with the brim up- 
wards, and made of brilliant and often parti- 
coloured stuffs. They use the loose shirt under the 
cotton coat, and the wide drawers gathered in at the 
ankle, as in wear amongst the Moslems. They are 
a light- complexioned, regular-featured, fine-looking 
race, athletic compared with their brethren, from 
the liberal use of a meat diet ; somewhat corpulent 
in consequence of their predilection for sweets and 
clarified butter ; uncommonly proud of their personal 
appearance, and not a little fond of rich dress. 
They are easily distinguished from the True Believers 
by their features, which are fatter and less aquiline. 



The Amil, or Employe. 285 



Moreover, they now often affect the "Tilak," and 
their shirts and coats button on the left side. 

The literary attainments of an Amil are not 
extensive. In his boyhood he is sent to a Moslem 
Akhuncl, or pedagogue, and learns to speak, read, 
and write the Persian language, or rather the kind 
of Lingua Franca which passes for Persian among 
the educated classes in India and Sind. His 
pronunciation is, mutatis mutandis, that of an 
Englishman speaking French with a purely British 
accent, and with a vocabulary like French of the 
school of Stratford-atte-Bowe. His style is equally 
solecistic, as he learns grammar by rote, without 
ever dreaming of the difference betwixt noun and 
verb. In choosing words, he jumbles together the 
learned and unlearned, obsolete and neological, 
slang and pure provincialisms: not unfrequently, 
when run hard for terminology, he introduces a 
Sindi term, with or without the benefit of a foreign 
termination. The effect may be compared to a 
contractor's " lady " in the Brazil, " Here, Vosse, 
bring dguar and limper the floor," or to a sporting 
friend's, " Moi drink erai with vous," addressed to a 
Gallic homo unius lingua. His ignorance of the 
difficult arbitrary idiom of the beautiful, sonorous, 
expressive Persian is complete and striking. He 
translates the phraseology of his uncouth mother- 
tongue literally into the literary language ; and 
thus his speech is always ridiculous, and not un- 
frequently it becomes offensive, by producing some 
unintended, but unmistakable, double entendre. 



286 Sind Revisited. 



Imagine the effect of rendering, How do you do ? 
by Comment faites-vous ? 

After laying in a moderate stock of words and 
sentences, the Amil proceeds to the perusal of 
certain works upon the subject of petitions, addresses, 
and epistolary correspondence, not inferior in 
manner and matter to our " Complete Letter Writers." 
He learns by heart the directions, the beginnings, 
and the endings, the " Sir-I-have-the-honours ; " 
and the " I-have-the-honour-to-remain-Sirs ; ,; and 
by much diligence he masters the important distinc- 
tion between " Sir-of-high-degree," and " Sir-of- 
exal ted- station ;" Ali-shan, the former, being applied 
to nobles, gentlemen, and equals generally ; Ali-jah, 
the latter, to " respectable " persons and inferiors. 
He then peruses a poet, and a romance or two, with 
the view of " getting up " common-places, and of 
" cramming " quotations, which may be produced as 
a proof of a liberal education. His preparatory 
studies conclude with a few simple arithmetical 
rules. 

Our Amil now, by the assistance of a kinsman 
or a caste-fellow, obtains permission to squat upon 
the floor of some Daftar or Government office, 
amongst a crowd of scribes, clerks, and cadets. 
The aspirant, thus upon the point of entering " life," 
devotes the energies of his mind to mastering the 
complicated tricks and devices in which his craft 
deals ; and his juvenile efforts are carefully seconded 
by the precepts and practice of his seniors. He 
learns to read out a paper to his employers, altering 



The Amil, or Employe. 287 



sentences and paragraphs to suit the sense he wants, 
and, when acting secretary, to jot down, without 
hesitation, exactly as much or as little of what is 
dictated to him as may suit his purpose. This is 
a system which nothing can check but an actual 
perusal of all letters, or the plan adopted by Tipu 
Sultdn. The ruler of the Mysore could neither read 
nor write : so, to obviate danger of deception, after 
dictating his orders to one secretary, he sent him 
into a closet, and put the paper into the hands of a 
second. If word had not been set down for word, 
the head of the writer at once paid the penalty : 
old Mohammed Ali P^shd, of Egypt also hit upon a 
similar precaution. Our Amil acquires the arts of 
writing a good feigned hand, and of copying docu- 
ments with deceptive skill ; he becomes dexterous 
at making a fresh paper look old and worn, as a 
London Jew at manufacturing a Guido ; and he 
practises till perfect, with laborious industry, the 
many ways of forging a seal. The "Khatm" in 
Sind, as in many parts of the Eastern world, is what 
the signature is in the West : Europe once knew 
the practice, especially in the days when many a 
" Dominus Episcopus " was compelled to confess, 
"Scribere non possum." This prelude to his career 
concludes with the acquirement of considerable 
knowledge concerning the best and safest way of 
receiving and administering a bribe. He is now a 
Munshi (secretary), 1 prepared to do his duty to his 

1 In Persia the title is given only to men of learning : in India 
every fellow who can read a page of Hindostani, or scrawl a 



288 Sind Revisited. 



master by deceiving him whenever deception is 
profitable ; and to the Government, that employs 
both, by plundering it to the utmost extent which 
his means and opportunities permit him. 

The Sindi is our scribe's mother tongue ; but as 
he never peruses the works which it contains, he is 
ignorant of all beyond a mere colloquial knowledge. 
His private studies are mostly religious. If he 
incline to the faith of Nanak Shah, he learns to read 
and write certain excerpts of the Granth, or Sikh 
scripture. He prepares for himself a Pothi, or 
prayer-book, but, too idle to learn the Gurumukhi 
modification of the Devandgari, or modern Sanskrit 
alphabet, used in the Holy Writ of the Panjdb, 
he copies in the Nasta'allk, or common Persian 
character, the select passages of some friend's 
breviary. These are hymns to the Creator, to the 
Great Incarnations, to the Saints, and to Jenda" Pir 
and Udhhero Lai, the Indus and his minister ; 
astrological tables, the " Book of Fate," formulas 
for calculating lucky and unlucky days, magical 
charms, and medicinal prescriptions. 

Contrary to the usual practice of Hindus, the 
Amil class marries late in life, in consequence, I 
believe, of the expense attendant upon their nuptial 
ceremonies. Some few live and die bachelors, a 
rare and exceptional state throughout the nearer 
East. Most of them are grossly immoral, addicted 
to gambling, and to the abuse of spirituous liquors. 

wretched note, arrogates to himself the name, which is derived from 
Insha, belles lettres, especially correspondence. 



The Amil. 289 

From mixing much with the members of another 
faith, and possessing a little more knowledge than 
their neighbours, many become Dahri, or materi- 
alists, owning the existence of a Deity, but dissoci- 
ating the idea from all revelation, and associating it 
with the eternity — "Azal" the past, and " Abad " 
the future — of matter in its myriad modifications. 
A few are Atheists in the literal sense of the 
word, but they rarely trust their secret to a 
stranger. All these freethinkers are formidable. 
Infidelity, by which I understand the rejection of 
any local system of religion, is less common in the 
enlightened East than it is in the civilized West : 
but the European seldom thinks proper, or takes the 
trouble, to make converts to his disbelief ; the 
Oriental does and, aided by his superiority in 
learning over the herd, he practises perversion fre- 
quently with great success. To judge from the 
progress of the Sufi, or mystic tenets, in Persia, 
and the Vedantic philosophy in India, especially 
that bastard form of Hinduism, the Brahm-Samaj, 
which in England you term — Heaven knows 
wn y! — "Brahmo-somaj," a mixture of theoretical 
Pantheism with pure and practical Theism will 
presently become the faith of the learned and 
polite in both countries. 

In Sind there are not many castes of Shudra, 
or servile Hindus; and the few that exist have 
adopted the thread of the twice-born, the sectarian 
mark, and the diet, dress, and manners of Banyans. 
The same is the case with the Nayrs of Malabar, and 

VOL. I. LV 



290 Sind Revisited. 



other similar castes in India, who, together with the 
functions and employment, have taken to themselves 
the rights, of a higher family. The principal trades 
are the Wahun, who lives by toasting different kinds 
of grain ; x the Khatti, or dyer ; the Hajjam, who 
combines the employment of cupping and shaving ; 
and the Sochi, who makes cloth -slippers, but leaves 
leather-slippers to the impure Mochi, the outcaste 
that dresses and works leather. 

In Haydarabad and the other large towns 
there are several families of the eclectic religionists 
called Sikhs. 2 The wild tracts of country in the 
east of Sind contain some curious tribes of outcastes ; 
and in several parts of the province a variety of 
mendicant orders, as numerous as the begging-friars 
of Southern Europe, exercise their offensive pro- 
fession. This, the fluctuating population, not 
actually belonging to the region, I have already 
described. 3 

The Hindu's religion has, like the Moslem's, 
been contaminated by contact with strangers, es- 
pecially the Sikh ; the latter is a heretic Hindu, and 
therefore a more dangerous antagonist than the 
Musulman, who attacks Polytheism with all the 
ignorant violence of a Monotheist. Still there is 

1 Many cereals, such as rice, wheat, Bengal- "gram," holcus, and 
others, are boiled, dried, and toasted upon iron plates, to be eaten 
on journeys, and at different religious epochs. 

2 They were pleased to admit me into their order, but the 
ceremonies of initiation are under the seal of secrecy. 

3 " Sindh, and the Races that inhabit the Valley of the Indus." 
London, Allen, 1851. 



Hindu Women. 291 



no lack of bigotry among them. The votary of 
Vishnu or Shiva will often, for a consideration or 
with an object, represent himself as inclining to 
Christianity ; but not even once, as yet, has he 
taken the irrevocable step : the beefsteak or the 
baptism. If he has nothing to gain by apparent 
attachment to " master's creed," he opposes, strenu- 
ously enough, everything that offends his conviction 
and his prejudices. A friend, then vaccinator in 
Sind, found serious difficulties to contend with 
when he attempted to spread the blessing amongst 
the Hindus of Karachi. The pragmatical pagans 
believe small-pox to be a manifestation of atrocious 
Devi herself : they therefore bury instead of burning 
her victims ; and they look upon all precautionary 
measures as direct acts of hostile aggression upon 
their deity. Yet, as is the case with all men, they 
abound in contradictions : when a babe falls sick, 
the father runs for a doctor as well as a priest ; and 
when it dies, he laments not the less because his 
progeny has died of a goddess. 

The Hindu women in Sind, like the Jewesses 
in Europe, are superior in personal appearance to 
their lords. Many are beautiful, with correct 
features, magnificent hair, classical figures, though 
not free from high shoulders the prevalent defect of 
India, and clear olive skins, sometimes lighted up, 
on the cheeks and palms of the hands, with the 
faintest possible pink. The eyes are perfect; as 
amongst these races generally they are the feature : 
hence^ possibly, the habit of hiding all the rest of 



292 Sind Revisited. 



the face in the " nose-bao;." Their charms are, how- 
ever, ephemeral ; and all who have enough to eat, 
and who are not worked too hard, become, quadruped- 
like, fleshy and corpulent. A simple diet, a life 
spent almost in the open air, and an unartincial 
toilet, consisting, in toto, of a white or quasi-white 
veil thrown over the head, a loose bodice to support 
the bosom, a long and wide petticoat of red-spotted 
stuff, and sometimes a pair of slippers, preserve them 
from the hundred nervous and hysterical ailments of 
dyspeptic civilization. 

The Hindu women are less educated, but also 
less fond of pleasure (which here means, feasting, 
hard drinking, and flirtation, to use a very 
mild term), than the Moslemahs. I must make 
an exception of Shikarpur, where, when we first 
took the country, liberty had transgressed the 
limits of license. Their vanity, the ruling passion of 
the sex, finds a safety-valve in an extensive display 
of grotesque ornaments ; of metal rings in the ear, 
the nostril, the cartilage of the nose, on the wrists 
and fingers, ankles and toes ; of necklaces, and of 
large ivory circles, white or stained, covering all 
the fore-arm. Being under strict surveillance, and 
hourly liable to bodily chastisement, administered 
with no sparing hand, they are good, hard-working, 
and affectionate wives. Their love for their off- 
spring, the great feminine virtue of the East, is an 
all-absorbing passion, beautiful despite its excess. 
To the Hindu mother, her child, especially her son, 
is everything. From the hour of birth she never 



The Hindu Mother. 293 

leaves him clay or night. If poor, she works, 
walking about with him on her hip : if rich, she 
spends life with him on her lap. When he is in 
health, she passes her time in kneading and 
straightening his limbs. If he is sick, she fasts 
and watches, and endures * every self-imposed 
penance she can devise. She never speaks to or 
of him, without imploring the blessing of Heaven 
upon his head ; and this strong love loses naught 
when the child ceases to be a toy ; it is the 
mainspring of her conduct throughout life. No 
wonder that in the East an unaffectionate son is 
a phenomenon ; and no wonder that this people, 
when rage makes them offensive, always begin by 
foully abusing one another's mothers. 

Own to me, Mr. John Bull, if you have can- 
dour enough, that in this point at least civilization 
gains nothing by contrast with barbarism. With 
us the parents are engrossed during the infancy of 
their offspring by other cares, the search for riches, 
or the pursuit of pleasure. During the trouble- 
some clays of childhood the boy is consigned to a 
nursery, or is let loose to pass the time with his 
fellows as he best can ; then comes youth, accom- 
panied by an exile to school and college ; then the 
career or profession, and lastly, the marriage and 
the " young family " — a coup de grace. 

In civilization, too, there is between parent and 
child little community of interests and opinions: 
the absence of it is the want of a great tie. Often 
the former has authority over the latter, and abuses 



294 Sind Revisited. 



it ; or the latter, being independent of the former, 
presumes upon it. The one may be a Eoman 
Catholic and a Conservative ; the other, a Methodist 
and a Manchesterian : both are equally ready to 
fall out "on principle" about their " principles. " 
The contrary rules in these lands. Opinions are 
heir-looms ; religious tenets cannot differ ; politics 
are confined to politicians ; " principles " there are 
none, and every household instinctively feels, and 
moreover acts upon the feeling, that its only 
safeguard against the host of enemies without, is 
perfect unanimity within doors : every household, 
I say, excepting, of course, the great, all whose 
members are rivals, and who hate each other with 
the vivacious family-hatreds of Honourables or 
Hibernians. 

I will end this subject with relating to you why 
the Hindu sect called Darya jd Shewak, disciples 
of the Sea, that is, the Indus, adore Udhhero L&l. 
Ahu, the bigoted Kazi of a fanatical Moslem King 
of Thatha, ordered all the heathen to adopt the 
True Faith, under pain of losing their heads 
unless the step were taken within ten days. The 
unfortunate Pagans thereupon repaired to the River 
and prepared for it a " Beg," or dish, containing 
cooked rice, sugar, and clarified butter. These 
delicacies were effectual, and presently a spears- 
man on a white steed emerged from the flood. 
He went straightway to the Kazfs Mahkameh, 
or court, and dared him to sit upon the water 
without other boat but his shawl. The reverend 



The Indus- Incarnation. 295 

gallantly accepted the challenge, and did not cry 
for aid till he was nearly drowned ; thereupon the 
rider, placing his five finger-tips upon the cloth, 
left on the corner five marks — a custom long per- 
petuated by the Moslems 1 — and kindly saved his 
adversary. He disappeared, assuring the people 
that within ten months he would be born under 
the name Udhhero Lai, of a Banyan woman at 
Nasrpur, on the Phitto river, some fourteen miles 
east of Haydarabad. The promise was kept, and 
the young Incarnation became a blessing to his tribe 
by confounding the Moslems in many religious con- 
troversies. He kept up this practice during a long 
life, and finally died at Cherao, north of the old 
capital. His memory is still green : the River- 
worshippers visit him once a month, and on the 1st 
of Chaitya (March-April) there is a crowded Yatra, 
or pilgrimage, to the place. 

1 This, of course, is the Hindu version. The Moslems certainly 
affect five white spots upon the indigo-dyed sheets, thrown over 
the shoulder, but they would hardly thus perpetuate the memory 
of a defeat inflicted by rival Religionists. 



296 Sind Revisited. 



CHAPTER XV. 

THE SINDI MAN — HIS CHARACTER, AND ESPECIALLY 
WHAT HE DRINKS. 

The Sindi, by which I understand the mass of the 
population, is the lineal descendant of the ancient 
Hindu race that possessed the country, with a slight 
admixture of Persian, Arab, Beloch, Brahui, and 
Afghan blood — you shall hear something of these 
races at a fitting time. Hence, doubtless, his more 
muscular frame and robust general appearance : the 
connection with the superior sub-family has, however, 
possibly from local causes, failed to produce a 
strictly speaking improved development. His 
complexion varies from a deep muddy chocolate 
colour, the sign of the lower orders, to the darkest 
olive of Southern Europe : his features are frequently 
high and thin, regular and well cut ; the forehead, 
unlike the feeble brow of India, is tall and arched : 
the head is, comparatively speaking, well rounded, 
and nothing can be finer than the eyes, the hair, and 
the beard, especially the two latter. 

The social position of the Sindi in his own 
country has, for a long term of years, been similar 



The Sindi. 297 



to that of the Saxon in England during; the age 
immediately following the invasion of the Northmen. 
Hence it is that, contrary to what might be expected 
from his physical superiority, his morale has sunk 
below the average of Western India. His is em- 
phatically a conquered race. Inhabiting a valley 
with a hot-damp climate, the most unfavourable, 
as opposed to a cold-dry, the most favourable, to 
manliness ; exposed to the incursions of the hardy 
natives of the frigid and arid mountains that look 
down upon it, he had, perhaps, the bodily strength, 
but he lacked the firm will, and certainly the 
vigour of mind, to resist invasion, or to shake 
off the invader. As we see him now, a Chinese 
compared with a Tartar, the contempt to which he 
has subjected himself by his self- conviction of 
inferiority, and the absence of any object which 
might infuse energy into his actions, have formed 
and fixed him a very slave. 

The principal occupations of the settled Sindis 
are feeding flocks and herds, agriculture, and 
manual labour. They own the worst land in the 
province, the tracts lying near the tails of canals, 
where the inundation seldom extends, because the 
feoffees, whose estates lie about the head, will not 
take the trouble, or go to the expense, of excavating 
the beds. The only remedy for this evil would be 
to confiscate the whole or part of the said estates. 
He also holds the grounds cut off from land and 
water transit; whilst the Beloch feudal lords and 
their throng of vassals secured for themselves most 



298 Sind Revisited. 



of the fertile and productive tracts. Generally 
speaking, they are miserably poor : theirs is a bald 
and squalid wretchedness which must be witnessed 
to be understood. I have seen whole families 
picking up off the roads and highways the grains 
of barley they might chance to find there. And 
under our rule the Moslem is even more wretched 
than he was under the native Princes. 

Throughout Sind, the Hindu element prepon- 
derates in the cities and towns, the Moslem in the 
country : the former everywhere represents capital, 
the latter labour. There are few districts in this 
part of Asia where the cultivators are not bankrupts, 
only prevented from failing, as it were, by its being 
the interest of the creditor not to ruin his debtor 
beyond a certain point. The way by which this 
comes to pass in Sind is as follows. The peasant 
paid one-third and one-half the produce of his fields 
to the ruler, Amir, governor, or collector : we will 
suppose that he paid it in kind, to make the hard 
condition as favourable as possible to him. Upon 
the other moiety, or two- thirds, he and his family 
had not only to subsist till the next harvest, but 
also out of it he was required to economize the 
wherewithal to sow his fields when the season came 
round. Here lay the difficulty. The peasant could 
not save ; and if he could, he would not save : so 
when seed was required, he went to the Hindu, the 
usurer and attorney of the little parish ; and, after 
immense trouble, he borrowed, at the rate of about 
cent, per cent., mortgaging at the same time the 



Usury. 299 

coming harvest, the smallest quantity of grain 
deemed necessary. He was then a ruined man. 

Besides receiving ah enormous rate of interest, 
the creditor, who can read, write, and compute, 
turns the ignorance of his debtor to profit by 
keeping his accounts in a state of confusion most 
advantageous to the only one that understands 
them, himself. The wretched Moslem " Ryot," 1 after 
paying off his liabilities half a dozen times or more, 
is still as deeply indebted as ever. Under the 
native rule it was, and under any system it would 
be, the same. As for discharging the debts of the 
Great Peninsula, and starting the community " clear " 
in the world, as the phrase is, I doubt whether the 
revenues of Great Britain would suffice. Only, 
where natives govern, they keep up larger estab- 
lishments, markets for produce, than we do ; and 
they will more easily remit the rate demandable 
from the agriculturist. The frequent wars, tumults, 
and invasions, too, have one good effect, allowing 
the ground to lie fallow for awhile. Our rule is, 
and must ever be, by the very nature of our 
tenure, a few Englishmen amongst millions of 
Hindus and Hindis, a cut-and-dry, mechanical, 
and unelastic system, equally distasteful and dis- 
advantageous to the Princes and to the people. 

The Hindu's reed-pen is a rod of iron, and 
abjectly the unhappy Sindi trembles before it. I 

1 In the Europeo- Asiatic jargon, "Rayah" is the Turkish, 
" Ryot " the Indian, peasant : both, you would scarcely believe 
the feat of Cacography, being one and the same Arabic word, 
Ra'iyyat, 'i^j 



300 Sind Revisited. 



was forcibly struck by an example of its power 
on one occasion wben travelling down the Eastern 
River-valley. My tent was pitched near a little 
village ; and the natives, who in those days con- 
sidered every European a petty sovereign, were 
careful to come out en masse and pay their respects 
to the hat and shooting-jacket. Amongst the last 
visitors was a fair specimen of the race that has 
been most unjustly designated as " mild and lowly;" 
a dirty, cringing Hindu, with Shylock writ large in 
every line of his lean, cold, greedy, hungry counte- 
nance. With his long legs depending from the saddle- 
less crupper of his diminutive ass, whose nostrils 
were split to improve its wind, he suggested nothing 
but an ourang-outang bestriding a Newfoundland. 1 
Dismounting and standing up, he began humbly to 
detail his grievances, insisting particularly upon the 
bad conduct of some unhappy Musulman Ryot who 
would not pay his debts legally contracted. 

" Hast thou seized his corn ? " I asked. 

" Of course, great Rajah : but it is not enough ! " 

" Hast thou sold his cattle ? " — without them 
the poor wretch could not plough a square foot of 
field. 

" Certainly. Long may your Rajahship 
flourish ! but he still owes me rupees." 

" Hast thou taken his wife's jewels, their clothes, 

1 The pure Hindu holds donkey-riding a disgrace. The intoler- 
ance of the Moslem ruler compelled these Banyans to adopt the 
lowly monture ; the force of habit continued the practice, and only 
now they are beginning to exchange it for the horse and for the 
carriage. 



The Usurer. 301 



the ornaments of their children, their furniture, and 
so forth ? " 

1 Yes, but he was so poor : what were the things 
worth ? " 

" And thou hast not turned him out of house 
and home ? " 

" He sits in the jungle, great Prince." 

"Then, man of dense brains, what wouldst 
thou have me do ? What wouldst thou do thy- 
self?" 

My friend was evidently of opinion that, by 
science and vigour, blood might be extracted from 
a turnip ; and he hinted not obscurely at a mode of 
torture which, he assured me, under the native 
Princes, was never known to fail. From his 
account of it I should agree with him, the alterna- 
tive being literally pay or die. In vain I attempted 
to illustrate the homely proverb above quoted ; 
vainly I represented that we civilized Europeans 
allow no corporal punishment for debt, only a 
compulsory residence in certain Government bunga- 
lows. My Hindu affected to believe what I was 
saying : he left me, not daring to grumble, but 
looking his profound dissatisfaction at having come 
across so thick-headed, and at the same time so 
imaginative, a conqueror. 

In the East, Mr. Bull, such a scene is im- 
pressive, and perhaps matters were never worse 
than in 1876. It is, indeed, my firm conviction 
that, unless the Moslem Sindi be protected by the 
strong arm of the law against his Hindu oppressor ; 



302 Sind Revisited. 



in fact, by some form of the Encumbered Estates 
Bill, the whole body will be irretrievably ruined. 

During the last quarter- century a few Sindis, 
women as well as men, have studied the manners 
and customs of their conquerors sufficiently to 
become domestic servants in European establish- 
ments. They are preferred to those of the Panjdb 
and of India generally : my short experience of 
the Sindi in this form is all in his favour, and 
the Indus Flotilla can speak well of his honesty 
and fidelity. 

The nomadic Sindis who inhabit the hills in 
the western, and the oases in the deserts of the 
eastern, frontier, are taller, stouter, and hardier 
men than those settled upon the Indus plains. In 
appearance many are scarcely to be distinguished 
from their Beloch neighbours ; and the latter, in 
some cases, have learned to respect their bodily 
strength and their fitful valour. They live by 
fishing and hunting ; by breeding horses, camels, 
goats, and sheep; by resorting to the low country 
for employment, when agriculture is at a standstill, 
and by cultivating patches of ground to provide 
them and their families with bread. 

The dress of the common Sindi is a cotton shirt 
of problematical whiteness, and distinguished by 
its shortness from that of the Beloch : his overalls 
(Kanch) also are tight at the ankle, not wide as the 
hill-man's, and the favourite colour is indigo-blue. 
His turban (Patkd,) is loosely wound: at times he 
wears the inverted broad-brim (Siraiki-topi) and, if 
well-to-do, a Lungi, or waist-scarf. 



Food. 303 

His daily bread is a thick, flabby cake of Bajri- 
flour, a kind of grain, intelligibly described in 
dictionaries as " Penicillaria vulgaris" It is 
mixed with water, well kneaded, flavoured with 
salt, aod baked without leaven on a clay-plate : 
reeking with rancid butter, and greenish in colour, 
it has a particularly uninviting taste. This food 
is considered very heating, so the people almost 
live upon it during the cold weather. For the 
rich there are about fifteen kinds of " Rot," as the 
stuff is most appropriately called, bread made of 
different grains, or cooked in particular ways ; some 
of them, the sweet varieties, rather resembling 
buttered-toast coated with coarse brown-sugar. 
The national drinks are milk and water, not 
mixed. The luxurious eat Pullaus, your " Pilaffs " 
borrowed from corrupted Turkish : the dishes are 
dressed in a pseudo-Persian style, and the contents 
are meat, chiefly mutton, fresh and dried fish, vege- 
tables, fruits, game, and other delicacies. All smoke 
the water-pipe, which in these regions is a peculiar- 
looking affair, composed of a large, roundish vessel 
of clay, baked red, with a long, thin neck : 
into this is inserted the stem, supporting the 
monstrous " Chilam," or bowl, which may contain 
three or four ounces. The smoke, passing through 
the water, is inhaled by a reed-pipe that projects 
from the side of the reservoir. There are several 
varieties of tobacco: the best, called Shikarpuri, 
would, I believe, if properly cured, form a valuable 
article of commerce. It is now terribly sweated by 



304 Sind Revisited. 



being stacked in cocks, covered with matting so as 
to exclude the air : hence its inferiority of flavour. 
Formerly it was used only for smoking : now the 
people have learned to like snuff, a fine powder 
somewhat like that of the Bombay Parsis. 

One of the great causes of the Sincli's degeneracy 
is the prevalence of drunkenness throughout the 
Province. All ranks and creeds, sexes and ages, 
drink hard ; the exceptions being a few religious 
men and dames of godly lives. Oriental-like, they 
sit down to their cups with the firm intention of 
disqualifying themselves for arising from them. 
There is no wine made in the country, the grape 
being rare, and generally used for eating. The 
alcohols are distilled from raw-sugar or dates, 
with the addition of a little mimosa-bark, and 
other ingredients. When pure, they are fiery 
as aether or sal volatile, and the novice hesitates 
which to loath the most, the taste or the smell of 
the potion. Sometimes it is perfumed with musk, 
citron-peel, saffron or rose-leaves, and the spirit is 
blunted by a plentiful admixture of molasses or 
sugar-candy. The nobles prefer European prepara- 
tions, especially the strong and sweet, as curacoa 
and noyau. Some of the Parsis who traded in 
these articles when we first took the province made 
considerable sums of money. 

The alcohols, however, like the wines and 
opium, are confined to the higher orders, and those 
who can afford such luxuries. The common people 
content themselves with the many preparations of 



Drink. 305 

the deleterious Bhang, in England called "Indian 
hemp " : 1 and so habituated have they become to it, 
that, like drinkers of laudanum, they can scarcely 
exist without it. Near all the large towns there 
are particular places, called " Daira," where regular 
topers assemble to debauch in public. Our Govern- 
ment has wisely taxed the hemp, which under the 
native Princes almost every peasant grew for him- 
self : the " Ddirds " should also be licensed or limited 
in number by some means or other, as they are 
most prejudicial to the well-being of the people. 
The building contains a single large, open room, 
generally in a garden planted with basil and other 
odoriferous plants ; there must be a lofty wall to 
exclude the gaze of passers-by ; but spreading trees 
and a bubbling stream, the scene in which the 
Persian loves to wrestle with Bacchus, are rare 
luxuries in this land. About sunset, when the 
work of the day is happily over, the " Bhangis," 
as the habitues are termed, the name being con- 
sidered light and slighting even by those who 
indulge in the forbidden pleasure, begin to con- 
gregate, each bringing with him his hemp, his 
pipkin, his Asa, 2 or staff, and other necessaries. 
Ensues a happy half-hour of anticipation. All 
employ themselves in washing out the leaves with 
" three waters ; " in pressing the mass between the 

1 Bhang (in Persian, Bang), is the name of the herb, Cannabis 
sativa or Indica, and also of the favourite preparation of it 
presently to be described. 

2 The dwarf club with which the drinkers triturate the small 
leaves, husks, and seeds of the plant, and mix with milk or water. 

VOL. I. 20 



306 Sind Revisited. 



palms, blessing it lustily the while, in rubbing it 
down with the pestle, in filling the brass-pot with 
water or milk, and in sweetening the nauseous 
draught, with irrepressible glee at the nearing pros- 
pect of the favourite enjoyment. After drinking 
or smoking the drug, the revellers fasten on the 
water-pipes placed ready upon the floor, and 
between the long puffs they either eat little 
squares of sweetmeat, to increase the intoxication, 
or they chew parched grain and crunch cucumbers 
to moderate its effects. After about half an hour 
the potion acts, and each man is affected by it in 
a different way. One squats, stupid and torpid, 
with his arms wound round his knees, and his 
long beard shaking, like a browsing goat's, with 
every nod of his falling head. His neighbour 
may prefer a display of musical skill, in which he 
perseveres solely for his own benefit. Another, 
delighting in privacy, throws a sheet over his 
head, and sits in a corner of the room, meditating 
intensely upon the subject of nothing. A third 
talks bald, disjointed nonsense ; a fourth, becoming 
excited, begins to perform a pas seid : if of choleric 
complexion, he will, Irishman-like, do all he can to 
break some dear friend's head. And the multitude, 
the " old hands," sit quietly looking on, occasion- 
ally chatting, and now and then entertaining one 
another with lies, the most improbable, incoherent, 
and grotesque, that ever shifted from mortal lips 
to mortal ears. There is one peculiarity in the 
assembly. If a single individual happen to cough, 



Hashish. 307 

to sneeze, or to laugh, all the rest, no matter how 
many, are sure to follow his example. And the 
effects of the continuous and causeless convulsions 
of the lungs and cachinnatory muscles upon a by- 
stander, not in " Bhang," are striking. 

The social meeting usually breaks up about 
8 p.m., at which hour the members, with melancholy 
countenances, retire, like strayed revellers, to their 
suppers and their beds. 

You have read, I suppose, Mr. Bull, some 
execrable translation of a certain spirit-stirring 
tale, " Monte Christo." Perhaps you remember 
that truly Gallican part of it, in which the hero 
administers to his friend " Hashish," the Arabic 
name for prepared Indian hemp, and the romantic 
description of what "Hashish" did to that friend. 
You must know that these are the effects of Can- 
nabis, not in the deserts of actuality, but in the 
fair fields of imagination, in the fairy world of 
authorism, where men are generous, women con- 
stant, the young wise, the old benevolent. I have 
often taken the drug, rather for curiosity to dis- 
cover what its attractions might be, than for aught 
of pleasure ever experienced. The taste of the 
potion is exactly what a mixture of milk, sugar, 
pounded black pepper, and a few spices would pro- 
duce. The first result is a contraction of the nerves 
of the throat which is anything but agreeable. 
Presently the brain becomes affected ; you feel an 
extraordinary lightness of head ; your sight settles 
upon one object, obstinately refusing to abandon it; 



308 Sind Revisited. 



your other senses become unusually acute, uncomfort- 
ably sensitive, and you feel a tingling which shoots 
like an electric shock down your limbs, till it voids 
itself through the extremities. You may stand in 
the burning sunshine without being conscious of 
heat, and every sharp pain is instantly dulled : 
I have heard of a Sindi stoker drinking Bhang 
before entering a newly drawn furnace to plug the 
tubes in the after-part of a boiler at work. Your 
cautiousness and your reflective organs are painfully 
stimulated ; you fear every thing and every body, 
even the man who shared the cup with you, and 
the servant who prepared it ; you suspect treachery 
everywhere, and in the simplest action you detect 
objects the most complexedly villainous. Hence 
Bhang has the name of a " cowardly drink," and we 
are probably wrong to speak of fighting-men being 
" Bhang'd up." Your thoughts become wild and 
incoherent, your fancy runs frantic ; if you are a 
poet, you will acknowledge an admirable frame of 
mind for writing such " nonsense verses " as the 
following : 

" The teeth of the mountains were set on edge by the eating 
of betel, 
Which caused the sea to grin at the beard of the sky." 1 

1 Dr. Herklots ("Qanoon-e-Islam/'p. 76, Madras Edition, 1863) 
quotes these lines as an " enigma," and gravely explains the 
signification which he supposes them to bear. They form part of 
a poem consisting of "nonsense verses," a favourite mode of 
trifling in the East, and composed, men say, under the influence 
of Bhang. Despite this small mistake, I know no work upon the 
subject of the South Indian Hindis that better deserves a reprint, 
with notes and corrections, than " The Customs of the Musulmans 



Hashish. 309 

If you happen to exceed a little, the confusion 
of your ideas and the disorder of your imagination 
become intense. I recollect on one occasion being 
persuaded that my leg was revolving upon its knee 
as an axis, and I could distinctly feel as well as hear 
it strike against, and pass through, the opposite 
shoulder during each revolution. Any one may 
make you suffer agony by simply remarking that a 
particular limb must be in great pain: you catch 
at every hint thrown out to you, nurse it and cherish 
it with a fixed and morbid eagerness that savours 
strongly of insanity. This state is dangerous, espe- 
cially to a novice ; delirium-tremens and catalepsy 
being by no means uncommon terminations to it. 
The generally-used restoratives are a wine-glassful 
of pure lemon-juice, a dozen young cucumbers eaten 
raw, and followed by a few puffs of the Shishah 
(water-pipe). You may conceive the state of your 
unhappy stomach after the reception of these 
remedies. Even without them you generally suffer 
from severe indigestion, for the unnatural hunger 
of Bhang-intoxication excites you to eat a supper 
sufficient for two days under ordinary circumstances. 
These are the effects popularly associated by the 
Orientals with drinking Bhang, and those which 
I myself experienced. Almost every "Banghi," 
however, feels something that differs from the 
sensations of his neighbour. Hence you will read 
half a dozen descriptions and not understand how 

of India." The first edition dates from 1832, and it has lived over 
one generation before its value was discovered. 



310 Sind Revisited. 



the writers can be describing the same thing. 
Like aether and chloroform, the drug acts differently 
upon all organizations ; a hint to such authors as 
Professor Johnston, the " Chemist of Common Life/' 
who, without personal experience, borrow from one 
source and expect that it will apply to all. And, 
of course, the more habituated a man becomes to 
the use of the drug, the more pleasurable the 
excitement it produces. It has two consequences 
which appear to vary only in degree, " the horrors u 
during the fit, and indigestion after it. 

The extensive use made of the preparation by 
the mystics of the East, and the multitudinous 
visions and presences with which their maudlin 
moments have been enlivened, have caused the 
drinking of Sabzeh, or "verdure," as the Persians 
call it, to be held by ignorant free-thinkers a kind 
of semi-religious exercise. A Sufi bard thus ad- 
dresses his pocidum, allegorizing its spirit as well 
as its matter, its inner contents and its outward 
form. 

i. 

of heroic deed and thought sublime 
And words of fire, mysterious fosterer, 

Imagination's font x 

And Inspiration's nurse ! 

II. 
To the dull Past thou lend'st a rosier tinge, 
Brighter bright Hope emerges from thy stream, 

And, dipped in thee, young Love 

Glows with a holier flame. 

1 In the original, "Sabgh" — an allusion to Christian baptism. 



The Sufis Drinking-Song. 31 1 



1 



in. 

Gaunt Poverty, grim Misery, love to find 
In thee their best, their sole mediciner. 

Thy potent spell alone 

Can smooth Pain's horrent brow. 



IV. 

And, Siren bowl, in thee the Sage beholding 
Types not obscure of Matter's shifting scene. 

Of deepest thought derives 

Sad salutary stores. 



v. 

Above, Eternity without beginning, 
Below thee lies Eternity unending : 1 
Thy narrow walls pour tray 
The puny bounds of Time. 



VI. 

Within whose circlet lies the World, a speck 
Upon th' immense of being, like the mote 

That momentary beams 

In Day's all-seeing Eye. 



VII. 

And on thy brim the drops so passing sweet, 
Withal so bitter in their consequence ; 

In them, Friend, mind'st thou not 

Life's clogging pleasances ? 



VIII. 

Man is the heedless fly that comes and goes, 
Fluttering away his little span of Time, 

Till, passing to his doom, 

He flutters never more. 



The Moslems have cut eternity into two halves : Azaliyyat, 



" beginninglessness," and Abadiyyat, " endlessness." 



312 Sind Revisited. 



IX. 

The annals of the world one tale repeat, 
"At such a moment such a one expired." 

Of this all mindful live — 

Mirza, 1 prepared to die. 

The almost universal abuse of Bhang throughout 
the province has doubtless much to do with the 
Sindi's natural vices, inertness and cowardice, lying 
and gasconading. Lente, without the festina, has 
now become his motto for the management of 
life. The herdsman passes his day under a bush, 
alternately smoking, drinking hemp, dozing, and 
playing upon the reed. The " navvy " on the canals, 
a large class in these regions, scratches up the mud 
with a diminutive hoe, deposits it in a dwarf -basket, 
toils up the bank at the rate of a hundred yards an 
hour, and after concluding each laborious trip sits 
down, groaning heavily, to recreate himself with a 
pipe, and to meditate upon approaching happiness 
in the form of Bhang. Your boatman od the river 
will, if you permit him, moor his craft regularly 
at noon, to enjoy his cups, and not to get through 
his work too quickly. So it is with the peasant at 
his plough, the huntsman, the fisher, the workman, 
the shopman ; in a word, with everybody. 

The Moghals, in ancient times, used to blunt the 
intellects of state-prisoners by giving them every 
day before breakfast a cupful of what is called 
"Post." A dried poppy-head or two was infused 

1 The name of the bard, who addresses himself, more Persico, at 
the end of his ode. His poetry might be improved as regards the 
working out his metaphor ; I leave it intact as a specimen. 



" Post " for Young Princes. 313 

in warm water, allowed to stand the whole nidit, 
and in the morning squeezed till none of the juice 
remained in it. The draught was cooled with ice 
or snow in the hot weather — admire the exquisite 
delicacy of Indian politeness ! — and it was sweetened, 
and' perfumed, before being administered to the 
patient. After a few months his frame became 
emaciated, his brain torpid and inert ; and these 
symptoms did not cease developing themselves till 
death was the result of the slow-poison too long 
continued. On the other hand, if wanted for the 
throne, the " Post! " was deprived of the potion for 
some weeks ; and his head was supposed not to 
have suffered material and organic injury. Surely 
this admirable engine of state-machinery might find 
its uses in Europe ! 

The Sindi, by drinking his Bhang after dinner, 
instead of before breakfast, allows himself some 
chance against the destroyer ; but his health, bodily 
and mental, cannot but suffer from its effects. Un- 
like Bhang, opium is considered a "brave drink." 
It is usually taken in the form of "Kusumba." A 
quant, stiff, is levigated with a wooden pestle in a 
metal-pot, and strained through cloth into the palm 
of the hand. "Kusumba" is extensively used to 
produce what we unjustly call "Dutch courage," 
and the valour of the Beloch swordsmen at Miyani, 
where they made two of our Sepoy-regiments run, 
was, it is said, highly indebted to it. 

The Sindis, like the unhappy Italians of the last 
generation, have long felt the weight of foreign 



314 Sind Revisited. 



fetters inherited from their forefathers ; unlike the 
ancient Anglo -Scandinavians and Anglo-Saxons, 
they have none of the sturdiness and glorious 
phlegm with which the Northerner bore, without 
succumbing to, the execrabile onus of a master's 
arm. A race of slaves is not necessarily cowardly : 
witness the Nubian and other African bondsmen, 
than whom the world does not contain a more deter- 
mined, dogged, and desperate set of ruffians. But 
the Sindi is constitutionally a poltroon : his timidity 
is the double one of mind and body. This remark, 
I repeat, by no means applies to the wilder tribes ; 
and superior climate and the habit of danger have 
made many of the clans, the Jakhr&s, for instance, 
almost as brave as the Beloch. An exception to the 
general rules of Oriental resignation and Moslem 
fortitude, the Lowlander cannot talk or think of 
death without betraying an abject, grovelling fear, 
and even his Bhang will not give him courage to 
face the bayonet with common manliness. 

Their preponderating development of cautious- 
ness may account for the falsehood and the vaunting 
propensities of the people. They deceive because 
they fear to trust ; they lie because truth is not to 
be told with impunity or without an object ; they 
boast because they have a hope of effecting by " say- 
ings " what there are no " doings " to do. The habit 
soon becomes confirmed, especially amongst these 
Easterns, who exaggerate and overdraw everything in 
pure hate of nature and things natural. " Shahbash 
Pahlaw&n," ("Go it, my heroes!") cries the Tindal, 



Sindi Character. 315 



or skipper, of your Dhundi, x at every stroke of the 
sweep handled by his trembling "braves." If a 
score of half-naked boors congregate in a dirty 
village, they will call it a " Shehr," a city. The 
chief of a petty tribe must prefix the title of 
: ' Malik," king, to his ignoble and cacophonous 
name. Your escort, half a dozen ragged matchlock 
men, dubs itself a " Lashkar," an army; and when 
you ride over to some great man's palace, accom- 
panied by a single domestic, your horse-keeper is 
gravely termed your " Sawari," or retinue. The 
noble boasts that his clan musters 50,000 men, all 
perfect Eustams, 2 or Camelfords, for fighting : every 
individual of that 50,000 will, if you believe him, 
convince you that : 

" His joy is the foray, the fray his delight." 

Take up a horsewhip, and " Eustam " will infallibly 
decamp as fast as the portable armoury of weapons 
about his person allows him to do. And so on 
with every rank and condition of Sindi Southron. 

Yet so curiously contradictory is human nature 
in this part of the world, that Sindis as well as 
Beloch have been found to act " Badli " for a few 
rupees. The word means a " substitute," that is, 
a man who hires himself to confess and be hanged 
for a murder which he never committed. Before 
this custom was suspected by the conquerors — and 

1 See chap. xxix. 

2 The Persian hero : a kind of Hercules, Sampson, and Solomon 
combined : although a Pagan, he will, say the Shfahs, escape 
eternal punishment by reason of his valour. 



316 Sind Revisited. 



Sir Charles Napier would never thoroughly believe 
in it — many an innocent man doomed himself to 
death. I once asked a " Badli " what had induced 
him to become one, and he replied as follows : 

" Sain ! I have been a pauper all my life. My 
belly is empty. My wife and children are half- 
starved. This is Fate, but it is beyond my patience. 
I get two hundred and fifty rupees. With fifty I will 
buy rich food and fill myself before going out of the 
world. The rest I will leave to my family. What 
better can I do, Sdin ? " 



( 317 ) 



CHAPTEE XVI. 

THE SINDI WOMAN ESPECIALLY HER PERSON 

AND DRESS. 

In treating of the fair sex, we ought, I suppose, 
Mr. Bull, to commence by a sketch of superficialities, 
of personalities. 

The first thing remarked by the Eastern traveller 
home -returned to the streets of his native or neigh- 
bouring town, is that scarcely any two individuals 
resemble each other. In the most civilized European 
countries there has been such a mixture of blood 
and breed, that an almost infinite variety of features 
and complexions, shapes and forms, has long been 
grafted upon the original stock which each region 
grew. He thus explains to himself how it was that 
during his earlier months of wandering he thought 
all the men he met brothers, all the women sisters ; 
and he remembers that, till his eye became familiar 
with its task, he could trace no more distinction 
between individuals than a Cockney would discover 
in two white sheep of a size. 

Caste, 1 in this part of the Eastern world, groups 

1 This corrupted Portuguese word (casta) may venially be 
applied to the half-Hindu Musulman of Sind and India ; though, 



318 Sind Revisited. 



the population of a country into so many distinct 
bodies, each bearing a peculiar likeness to the other, 
and all a general relation to the characteristic face 
and form of the tribe. Rank makes some difference 
of colour : the higher it is the fairer the skin ; l 
and wealth gives a delicacy of feature and figure 
not to be found amongst the ill-fed, ill-clad, and 
hard-worked poor. But not the less they fail to 
destroy the family resemblance which naturally 
exists between individuals of the same country, age, 
and creed. 

I must request you to be present at the unpack- 
ing of a Sindi gentlewoman of high degree ; during 
which operation I shall lecture upon the points most 
likely to interest you, sir. 

Observe, she stands before you in her Burka', 
ungraceful prototype of the most graceful mantilla, 
which has frequently, and not inaptly, been com- 
pared with a shroud. Its breadth at the shoulders, 

properly speaking, no such distinction prevails in the world of 
El-Islam. 

1 So much so that a Hadis, or traditional saying of Mohammed, 
declares that none of his descendants shall be dark-coloured men. 
Even amongst the negroes of Central Africa, we find the chief 
lighter- tinted than his subjects. The fact results, doubtless, from 
a selection of species ; the fair skin being generally sought after. 
This is almost the only point on which I dare to differ with the 
learned Dr. Darwin's theory of development. According to that 
most candid and honest of authors, one of the glories of our age, 
the blackest of a black race, and the flattest-nosed amongst flat- 
noses, should be the model of beauty. My experience is distinctly 
the reverse : wherever in the four quarters of the world, I saw a 
pretty woman, she was generally admired. This is a question of 
fact versus theory, and I will not obscure it by supposing any 
ideal type of beauty universally recognized by the human brain. 



The Sindi Gentlewoman. 319 



narrowing off towards the feet, makes it look 
uncommonly like a coffin covered with canvas : 
the romantically inclined detect a "solemn and 
nunlike appearance in the costume/' and the super- 
stitious opine that the figure thus arrayed "looks 
like a ghost." The best material is thick home-made 
cotton-cloth, which ought to be white, but, like a 
Suliote's frock, it is too often "d'une blancheur pro- 
blematique : " a strip of coarse net, worked lattice- 
wise, with the small ceils de boeuf opposite the eyes, 
covers and conceals the face. This article is a test 
of " respectability, " and is worn in token of much 
modesty and virtue : satirical Sindis, however, are 
in the habit of declaring that it is a bit of rank 
prudery, and that the wearer of the Burka', so far 
from being better, is generally a little worse, than 
her neighbours. Our dame is very strict, you may 
see, in " keeping up appearances : " in addition to 
the mantilla, she wears out of doors a long wide 
cotton " Pdro," or petticoat, for fear that chance 
should expose the tips of her orange -coloured toe- 
nails to a strange man's ardent gaze. 

She is now in her indoor-costume. Over her 
head, extending down to the waist behind, is a veil 
of Thath^-silk, with a rich edging, the whole of red 
colour, to denote that the wearer is a " Subhagan," 
or happy wife ; widows and old women generally 
dress in white. The next garment is a long wide 
shift, opening in front, somewhat after the fashion 
of a Frenchman's blouse; the hanging sleeves are 
enormous, and a richly- worked band or gorget 



320 Sind Revisited, 



confines it round the throat. At this, the cold 
season, it is made of expensive brocade ; in summer, 
Mult&n-muslin would be the fashionable stuff. 
There are no stays to spoil the shape : their locum 
tenens is a harmless " Gaj," spencer, or bodice of red 
velvet, in shape and duty like the Roman "stro- 
phium ; " it fits the form as tightly as possible, 
concealing the bosom, and fastening behind. The 
" terminations," of blue silk or satin, are huge bags, 
very wide at the back, to act as polisson or crinoline, 
and narrowing towards the extremities sufficiently 
to prevent their falling over the foot. These are 
gathered in at the ankles ; and correct taste requires 
this part to be so tight, that our dame never takes 
less than twenty minutes to invest her lower limbs 
in the " Sutthan," or pantaloons. I must call upon 
you to admire the "N^ro" (trowser- string) : it is 
a cord of silk and gold, plaited together, with a 
circlet of pearls at both ends, surrounding a ruby or 
some such stone set in wire, and concealed by the 
coils of the pendant extremities. A peculiar im- 
portance attaches to this article ; and susti dar band- 
i-izdr, or "laxity about the trowser-string," conveys 
a very insulting innuendo. Concludes the toilette 
with slippers, a leathern sole, destitute of hind- 
quarters, whose tiny vamp hardly covers the toe-tips : 
its ornaments are large tufts of floss -silk, various- 
coloured foils, wings of green beetles embroidered, 
or seed-pearls sewed, upon a ground of bright 
cloth. To see the wearer tripping and stumbling 
at every second step, you would imagine that the 



Her Dress. 321 

Sindi man had, like the Celestial, knowingly put a 
limit to his wife's powers of locomotion. But no, 
sir, it is only " the fashion ; " licensed ridiculousness. 
If you ask the gentlewoman what she thinks of her 
European sister's toilet, she will sneer, and tell you 
that it is a collection of "little rags." 

A red silk veil (Chuni or Rawa), a frock of 
white muslin, through which peeps the crimson 
bodice, and blue pantaloons, own that the lady's 
costume, though utterly at variance with Le Follet, 
and calculated to drive Le Petit Courrier into 
a state of demency, is by no means wanting in a 
certain wild and picturesque attractiveness. It is 
decent, too : amongst Orientals generally, the result 
of seclusion is a costume utterly unfitted for male 
society. 

And now for the dame's personale. Her long, 
fine jetty locks, perfumed with jessamine and other 
strong oils, are plastered over a well-arched forehead, 
in two broad flat bands, by means of a mixture of 
gum and water. The "back hair" is collected into 
one large tail, which frequently hangs down below the 
waist and, chief of many charms, never belonged to 
any other person : it is plaited with lines of red silk, 
resembling the trowser-string, and when the head, 
as frequently happens, is well shaped, no coiffure 
can be prettier. Her eyes are large and full of fire, 
black and white as an onyx-stone, of almond shape, 
with long drooping lashes, undeniably beautiful. I 
do not know exactly whether to approve of that 
setting of Kajjal, the fuligo of the Eoman fair, 
vol. i. 21 



322 Sind Revisited. 



which encircles the gems ; it heightens the colour 
and defines the form, but also it exaggerates the 
eyes into becoming the feature of the face, which is 
not advisable. This cosmetic is lampblack, collected 
by holding a knife over the flame of a lamp, and 
applied, with a glass, leaden, or wooden needle, 
called a " Mil," to the edges of the eyelids. Men 
prefer Kohl, or raw antimony finely triturated ; this 
gives a bluish colour. Upon the brow and cheek- 
bones a little powdered talc is applied with a 
pledget of cotton, to imitate perspiration, a horrible 
idea, borrowed from Persian poetry, and to com- 
municate, as the natives say, "salt" to the skin. 
The hair is washed with argillaceous Met," or 
fuller's earth, called in Hebrew and Arabic " Tafl," 
and by the Persian " Gil-i-Sarshui," or head- wash- 
ing clay ; it is quarried at HaydardMd and other 
places, and used as soap. The poor mix it with 
rancid oil of mustard ; the rich with rose-leaves and 
various perfumes. The cheeks are slightly tinged 
with lac-rouge, a vegetable compound which I 
strongly recommend, by means of you, sir, to the 
artificial complexion-makers of the West. 

The nose is straight, and the thin nostrils are 
delicately turned. You, perhaps, do not, I do, 
admire their burden, a gold flower, formed like 
a buttercup, and encrusted with pearls. There are 
several kinds of nasal ornaments : the usual wear is 
a large metal ring fixed in either wing, or a smaller 
circle depending from the central cartilage. When 
removed, a clove, or a stud of silver of similar 



Her Ornaments. 323 

shape, is inserted into the hole to prevent its closing. 
The bit of black ribbon which connects it with the 
front hair is strictly according to the canons of con- 
trast. The somewhat sensual mouth is well formed; 
the teeth are like two rows of jessamine-buds, the 
dentist and the dentifrice being things unknown ; 
and moles, imitated with a needle dipped in anti- 
mony, give a tricolor effect to the oral region. 
The lips and gums are stained with a bark called 
Musag, which communicates to them an unnatural 
yellowish tinge ; it is not, however, so offensive to 
the eye as the Missi 1 of India. As a large ear is 
much admired, that member is flattened out so as 
to present as extensive an exterior as possible ; 
and as pale palms and soles are considered hideous, 
those parts, the nails included, are stained blood-red 
with henna. This Eastern privet has two effects 
upon the skin; it is an astringent as well as a 
dye : unlike the noxious metallic compounds of 
Europe, it improves the hair ; the smell is fragrant 
as hay, nor is the trouble of applying it great. 
Orientals suppose that it spoils by keeping, but they 
are in error; when leaving India, I took several 
bottles of it, carefully corked and waxed, round the 
Cape, and a five months' voyage did not in any 
way injure their contents. To prepare it, the dried 
leaves must be pounded in warm water or rice-gruel, 

1 A powder of vitriol, steel filings, and other ingredients. It is 
rubbed into the roots of the teeth as an antiseptic, and a preser- 
vative against the effects of the quicklime chewed with betel-nut ; 
the colour ranges between rust and verdigris ; the appearance is 
unnatural and offensive. 



324 Sind Revisited. 



ten or twelve hours before use ; it should then be 
placed for a while in the sun, or exposed to gentle 
heat. The paste, which stains the nails and every 
part of the skin except the scalp, is applied with a 
brush, from the roots to the points of the hair, after 
being well cleaned with soap or pearl-ash : five or 
six hours' suffice to produce a deep brick-dust hue, 
which a paste of indigo-leaves, called at Damascus 
"black henna," speedily converts into a bottle-green, 
and, lastly, into a jetty, lustrous, crow's-wirig colour. 

Finally, hair on the arms being held an unequi- 
vocal mark of low breeding, it is carefully removed 
by means of a certain depilatory called "Niireh." 
This stuff is composed of orpiment or yellow arsenic 
(1 oz.), pounded and mixed with quicklime (4 oz.), 
till the compound assumes a uniform yellowish tinge. 
It is applied to the skin in a paste made with warm 
water, and must be washed off after a minute or 
two, as it burns as well as stains. The invention 
is ascribed by Western authors to the fastidious 
Sulayman (Solomon), who could not endure to see 
the hirsute state of H. M. Bilkis of Sheba's bare 
legs. A depilatory is still wanting to civilization : 
even Bond Street perfumers have none which they 
can recommeud to their customers ; but I will not 
puff this rude receipt. Our beauty, you see, wears 
no stockings ; but callosities, and other complaints 
which call for the chiropodist and Papier Favart, 
are not likely to offend our eyes. 

But, though we have pronounced the costume 
on the whole picturesque, there is, I must confess, 



Her Ornaments. 325 



something grotesque in the decoration of the 
person : both savage and semi-barbarous peoples 
can never rest content with the noblest handiwork 
of Creation. They must gild refined gold ; tattoo or 
tan, paint or patch, a beautiful skin ; dye or chip 
pearly teeth, and frizzle or powder " hyacinthine 
locks." Deadly sins against good taste are all 
these adulteries of Art, which should copy, and 
not attempt to improve upon, Nature. But polished 
Europe, so far from being free from them, is the 
very worst of offenders : witness the crinoline, the 
chignon, the tall heel, and the Grecian-bend, not to 
speak of those abominable pendula called earrings. 

In point of ornaments, the Sindi charmer's taste 
is execrable. We now own that a Sevigne adds 
nought to the charms of a fine forehead, nor takes 
aught from the uncomeliness of an ugly brow ; 
and that a simple black velvet band is at least as 
becoming as circles of massive metal or gaudy 
stones. Unhappily, however, for polite Europe, 
although the daughter condemns as out of date 
what the mother delighted to wear, her daughter 
will certainly revert to it because her mother did 
not, and her grandmother did, wear it. In the 
East there is none of this feeling. The comparative 
scantiness of the toilet calls for a number of 
ornaments which, like other things Oriental, are 
neither changed nor renewed: handed down as 
heirlooms in the family, they form a considerable 
portion of its wealth, and they are constantly 
accumulating ; the interest upon the outlay of 



326 Sind Revisited. 



capital being the intense gratification which the 
proprietors experience in displaying them. 

The popular frontal jewel is a ponderous concern 
of gold, set with crystals or stones of any or of no 
value. It is generally divided into three parts, a 
centre-piece occupying the middle of the forehead, 
and flanked by smaller side-pieces that rest upon 
the temples. There is a lighter form of the same 
triptychal article, but both are too expensive to come 
within the means of the poor. The whole ear, lobe, 
helix, and little ear, is so covered with weighty orna- 
ments in the shape of gold-rings, studs, jewelled or 
enamelled stars, and bell-like pendants, that it and 
its appendages require to be supported with tiny 
chains. Varieties of the necklace are as disagreeably 
abundant. One kind, worn tight round the neck, 
is formed by simple or double strings of small or 
large beads of gold, silver, or glass threaded on silk : 
another is a similar ornament of embossed metal : 
a third is a solid torpue, looking more like an instru- 
ment of punishment than a personal decoration ; 
and very little better than the English dog-chain of 
latest fashion. The finger-rings are generally plain, 
broad or narrow circles of metal : the rich ornament 
them with precious stones, and the very fashionable 
wear upon the thumb a little looking-glass, in which 
they are perpetually viewing their charms. They 
never use the Indian " bangles," thin rings of 
stained glass or sealing-wax, of which well-dressed 
women carry a dozen to each wrist. On the arms, 
besides a number of wristlets, bracelets, and armlets 



Her Ornaments. 327 



of gold, silver, or ivory, in the shape of rings, studs, 
flowers, and chains, solid, hollow, or filled up with 
melted rosin, the dame suspends a talisman or two, 
called a Ta'awlz : l it is carefully preserved, and justly 
considered the most valuable part of her trinkets. 
This Grigri, as Guinea calls it, is usually a slip of 
paper with a quotation from the Moslem's Holy 
Writ ; some curious spell to avert the Evil Eye, or 
a song to some dead Saint, enclosed in a small silver 
case and fastened on by black silk threads, very old, 
and use-browned. A friend of mine who had earned 
local celebrity for writing them, showed me an 
ancient gentlewoman who for two years had borne 
the mystic words 

"C d Me," 

of course in our vernacular, curiously and confusedly 
dispersed, letter by letter, throughout the squares, 
circles, and lozenges, in which the precious docu- 
ment abounded. And although my friend had on 
one occasion explained to the old widow, in excellent 
Sindi, the purport of her " preservative," she, insist- 
ing wrong-headedly, as seniors at times will, upon 
the fact that she had worn the article in question 
during a very prosperous period of her life, decidedly 
refused to discard it. 

The anklets, as you see, resemble the armlets in 
all points, except that they contain a greater mass 

1 These are the "characts" of ancient days, commonly used in 
different parts of Europe ; and by no means unknown to the 
modern, as holy medals, scapulars, and hoc genus ornne, prove. 



328 Sind Revisited. 



of metal. Perhaps the prettiest is a silver ring 
supporting a fringe of small circular bells which 
tinkle at every motion of the owner's feet. The 
rings on the toes have not an unpleasant effect, and 
the common circlets of enamelled silver suit the 
colour of the henna remarkably well. 

Now the Sindi lady stands before you in her 
veil, frock (" chemisette " would sound prettier, but 
be decidedly incorrect), bodice, pantaloons, and slip- 
pers ; painted, patched, and dyed ; be-ringed, be- 
necklaced and be-charmed literally from head to toe, 
both parts included. Her attitude is not ungraceful : 
she carries herself well, she never stoops and, observe, 
she has high but not round shoulders. She holds 
a silken string attached to a tassel that contains a 
bit of musk, and to the nice conduct of this scent- 
bottle she devotes much of her attention. In reply 
to our salutations she raises to her forehead the 
right hand, never the left, and briefly ejaculates 
" Salam." If we ask her to sit down she will take 
a chair, but, being in the habit of squatting, she will 
certainly place at least one foot upon the seat, to 
assume, as nearly as possible, the position most 
familiar to her. If she drops her pocket-handker- 
chief, an article of toilet used to be looked at, not 
to use, she is more likely to pick it up with her toes 
than with her fingers : Easterns are all more or 
less quadrumanous. In her continual adjustment of 
her veil, I see a little ennui as well as coquetting ; 
she is tired of conversation ; she is not prepared for 
aught savouring of facetiousness, being "upon her 



Her Education. 329 



dignity," and she longs for a water-pipe. Now, 
while she is puffing it with immense satisfaction, 
inhaling every atom into her lungs, and sedulously 
displaying, at the same time that she pretends to 
conceal, her arm and waist, I will oblige you with a 
hasty sketch of her life, as true to nature as I can 
draw it. 

Our visitor spent her early years in the 
' Harem," where she was frequently chastised by 
her mama, and where she scolded and romped with, 
pinched and scratched, the slave girls, and conducted 
herself generally in a way which would have horrified 
the correct Mistress Chapone. Long before her 
teens she was a miniature of her parent in dress 
and ornament, and she was painfully wide-awake, 
knowing much that she ought not to have known. 
At the early age of six she was mistress of the art 
of abuse and the rudiments of play, here synonymous 
with cheating : the games generally preferred are 
dice, cards, and several kinds of backgammon 
played with kauris, or Indian shells (Cyprcea moneta). 
Then began her '"serious" education : she was taught 
to cut out and sew dresses ; to knit and embroider ; to 
repeat a few prayers and, as no expense was spared 
to make her perfect, a matronly pedagogue attended 
to teach her the reading of her mother tongue, and 
the letters rather than the words of the Koran. 
Of course, she was not allowed to write, on account 
of the dangerous practices to which that attainment 
leads. But she wasted almost as much time as our 
maidens do upon music ; the only difference being 



330 Sind Revisited. 



that, instead of eliciting dismal sounds from the 
pianoforte, she drummed upon the timbrel, and she 
sedulously exercised her voice. From that somnific 
thing the drawing-master, and from the torments of 
the professor of dancing she was spared ; the former 
being yet to be, the latter a purely professional, and 
by no means a respectable, " party " in this part of 
the world. En revanche, she learned in the Gynse- 
ceum a style of saltation which is best described 
by the French lady's exclamation, at a Bombay 
"Ndch," " Mais, mon Dieu ! c*est un cancan!" 

Her tenth year found her prepared, in body as in 
mind, to become a matron, and eagerly enough she 
looked forward to the change, because she shrewdly 
suspected that, in the holy state, her liberty would 
not be so sadly curtailed. She was early debarred 
the enjoyment of accompanying her mothers slave- 
girls to the well, the place of reunions and of 
conversazioni ; the " scandal-point " and the " pump- 
room " of each little coterie. To her, life became 
dull and drear as that of an English country house. 
One of her father's neighbours determined to obtain 
her for his lad ; not because either father or son 
had seen, admired, or loved the child, but the 
connection appeared good, and the youngster was 
old enough for a wife. So a she-Mercury was 
despatched to the mother of the future bride, with 
many compliments, and with most stringent orders 
to remark the furniture of the house, the conduct 
of its inmates, and particularly the age, countenance, 
complexion, demeanour, gait, manners, and accom- 



Her Proposal. 331 

plishments of the daughter. The latter, on the other 
hand, was warned by her parent to conduct herself 
with the nicest decorum ; to squat with her veil 
almost covering her head ; never to reply till 
addressed two or three times, and by no means to 
spit: as her vivacity appeared likely to get the 
better of prudence, she was soundly slapped, to 
induce a grave and reflective turn of mind. 

The visit passed off well, without, however, any 
thing being concluded. The " Wakileh" * hinted at 
the object of the call, but her hosts, being people 
of fashion, merely replied, with the falsehood of 
convenance, that they " had no present intention of 
marrying their daughter." This, as the artistic 
ambassadress, who had grown old in the art of 
making every one's business her own, knew perfectly 
well, meant that they intended doing so at the 
first possible opportunity. Thereupon she returned 
to her employer and reported success. 

As a second visit of the kind must not take 
place before the month has elapsed, the parents of 
the damoiseau and the demoiselle spent their time 
in collecting all manner of information about the 
future couple from friends and neighbours, and the 
latter systematically withheld objectionables, because 
they expected a feast when the affair came off. The 
next ambassade was decisive, and a lucky day was 

1 The "go-between," or "Mrs. Gad-about," as this class is 
called by an English lady, who wrote an amusing and, curious to 
say, an accurate book about India (Mrs. Mir Hassan Ali's 
Observations on the Mussulmans of India, 1832). 



332 Sind Revisited. 



fixed upon, at a decent distance, for the preliminary 
rite of betrothal. 

On the appointed evening the groom's relations 
of both sexes assembled, and repaired with music 
and fireworks to the bride's house, carrying a present 
of bijouterie and dresses. They found every thing- 
prepared for their reception ; the men's rooms were 
strewed with pipes ; the " Zenanah," or Gynseceum, 
was spread with the best carpets, and hung with 
huge nosegays of strong- scented flowers. The 
intended was publicly dressed in new clothes of the 
most expensive description, and ornamented with 
the garlands, and the jewels sent by the pretendu; 
henna was then placed upon her hands, and she was 
seated in a conspicuous part of the room, the centre 
of all attraction. There she continued for a while, 
modestly confused, with eyes fixed on the ground. 
Her mother, then summoning the barber's wife, or 
rather the female-barber, an important personage 
on these occasions, desired her to carry a pot of 
milk and a tray of sweetmeats into the gentlemen's 
apartments. This the old wife did, and, with much 
jesting and raillery, made the party eat, drink, and 
be merry. She stayed with them till they all 
recited, with raised hands, the Fatihah, or opening 
chapter of the Koran. The father of the bride, who 
was concealing his intense delight at getting rid of 
the " household calamity," namely, a daughter, 
under a mingled expression of grief and shame, 
appointed a day for the nuptial ceremony. Next 
took place a great fete, beginning with a feast, and 



Her Marriage. 333 



ending with music and dancing ; the festivities con- 
tinued for about a week, and with them concluded 
the preliminary rite, betrothal. 

After this stage of the proceeding it is considered 
somewhat dishonourable to break off a match. At 
the same time, there is no such vulgarity in El- Islam 
as a suit for breach of promise, a demand for coin 
wherewith to salve wounded feelings and broken 
heart. Nor is there any religious impediment to a 
dissolution of the engagement. After the ceremony, 
as before it, the bridegroom is never, strictly speak- 
ing, allowed to see his intended ; but as, all the 
world over, that formidable person, the mother-in- 
law, is disposed at this stage of the proceedings to 
regard her new son with favour, such events are by 
no means so rare as they should be. 

The maiden was married about a year after her 
betrothal, a delay politely long, as hurry towards 
matrimony is considered a suspicious sign. No sum 
of money that the family could afford was spared : 
the feastings and merry-makings began a month or 
six weeks before the ceremony. All that Sindian art 
could do was put into requisition to make the bride 
look as pretty as possible. Cosmetics, oils, unguents, 
dyes, perfumes, depilatories, the paint-brush, and 
the tweezers, were pressed into the service; each 
matron and every attendant abigail of the hundred 
visitors having some infallible recipe for 

" Enhancing charms— concealing ugliness," 

and, with truly feminine pertinacity, insisting upon 



334 Sind Revisited. 



trying it. The wonder was that, what with their 
vellications and shampooings ; eternal bathings, and 
stuffings with Churo 1 ; frictions with sandal- wood 
and pitiless scourings with Pithi, 2 they left the poor 
girl any beauty at all. Most of the torment was 
exhausted upon the bride : the Hajjdm, or barber, 
contented himself with "cleaning" the male patient; 
and the friends of the family exercised their active 
minds in dressing him up, so as to give him as 
much as possible the appearance of a "gentlemanly- 
looking young man." 

To describe at full length all the meaningless 
puerilities and the succession of feasts that con- 
stituted the " marriage in high life " would be a task 
as tedious as profitless. Briefly to sketch them, 
both families kept open house and invited the 
whole body of their relations morning and even- 
ing ; drinking, smoking, and chatting all the day, 
and filling up the night with dances, in which 
professional performers displayed their charms ; 
whilst singers and bands of unmusical instruments 
screamed, jingled, and rattled outside the doors for 
the edification of the excluded vulgar. A number 
of presents passed between the bride and the bride- 
groom ; a series of visits kept their relations, to use 
a native phrase, in the state of " washerman's hound 



1 An unleavened cake of wh eaten flour made into dough with 
clarified butter, and mixed with brown sugar — a bilious mess, 
popularly supposed to increase the delicacy of the skin. 

2 A succedaneum for soap, composed of sweet oil and the flour 
of "Mash," a kind of phaseolus. 



Her Marriage. 335 



'twixt house and pond." 1 Dresses and jewels were 
canvassed, prepared, tried on, and scrutinized with 
religious care ; the bridal paraphernalia, 2 consisting 
of clothes, toilette-cases, trinkets, garlands, and a 
number of articles of furniture, especially mirrors, 
were sent by the future husband to the wife, and, 
finally, expiatory ceremonies were performed so as 
to defeat all the malevolent intentions of the Fiend 
and the Evil Eye. 

Next came the Church's part of the solemnity. 
On the appointed evening, the Kazi, or the Mulla, 
was invited to the house of the bridegroom's father, 
where he found a gathering of both families, the 
sex, however, being strictly excluded. Then the 
man of learning, in set phrase, thrice asked the 
maiden's parent, who had constituted himself her 
trustee, whether he agreed to marry his daughter 
to such and such a person. He replied solemnly 
in the affirmative. Thereupon the marriage-settle- 
ments were made ; and, as the father of the bride 
wished to give as little and to receive as much as 
possible—moreover, as, passing strange to relate, 

1 "Dhobi ka kutta, na ghar ka, na ghat ka ; " literally, 
"belonging neither to house nor ghat," or landing-place, upon 
whose steps the men of suds are wont to ply their vocation. 

2 This is the " Jahez," or dowry : it is the wife's property; it 
descends to her children and, in case of her dying without issue, 
it belongs to her nearest of kin. The settlement made by the 
bridegroom is called the "Mahr:" it is a religious and Koranic 
obligation, without which no marriage is lawful : as, however, 
the bride is allowed to remit an indefinite portion of it, it is more 
generally owed than paid. 



336 Sind Revisited. 



the father of the bridegroom seemed possessed by 
a spirit of direct opposition — the scene that ensued 
was generally animated, but by no means always 
decorous. It ended in the old way when a thing 
must be done, by both giving up a little to each 
other. Then the Kazi, rising from his seat, began 
to recite Arabic prayers, benedictions, the formula 
nuptial-contract, and certain chapters of the Koran, 
setting forth the beauties of matrimony, and the 
lovely lives of sundry hen-pecked Patriarchs and 
Prophets. Concluded this affecting part of the rite 
with a general congratulation and a heavy pull 
upon the father of the bridegroom's purse by the 
man of Allah, and by all those who could find the 
least pretext to assist him in the operation. The 
Koran does not permit Kdzis to take fees for marry- 
ing, reading prayers or preaching to, and burying 
the Faithful. Revelation having been unaccommo- 
dating in this little matter, the reverends are 
obliged to content themselves with daily pay, oc- 
casional benevolences, and grants of land. Presents 
of camels, horses, gold-hilted swords, dresses of 
honour, ornaments, and jewellery, were showered 
about in such profusion that even to the present day 
poor Paterfamilias feels the effects of a liberality, 
which nothing could have provoked but the absolute 
certainty that upon it depended his own good 
name, and the respect of all his fellows. 

At last the nocturnal procession took place. The 
bridegroom was bathed, dressed, garland'd, and 



Her Marriage. 337 



adorned with all the attention due to so important 
an occasion. Mounted on a white horse magnifi- 
cently caparisoned, and surrounded by a crowd of 
relations, friends, and spectators, with flags and 
fireworks, musicians, gymnasts, and dancing girls, 
ne paraded the streets, visited the mosque if he had 
time, and at last reached the bride's house. He 
then dismounted, and was led or carried into the 
courtyard, where the women of the family received 
him : he entered the male assembly, and was almost 
immediately removed to the " Zenanah," where the 
bride awaited his coming. A number of uninterest- 
ing ceremonies followed, and, finally, the "happy 
two " were left together with the pleasant cer- 
tainty tfyat at dawn they must rise to bathe, dress, 
say their prayers, and receive the congratulations 
of their friends. 

Our Sindi gentlewoman (she signifies that she 
wants another pipe) then eotered upon life in real 
earnest. She was permitted by her Faith to call 
upon her parents once a week before the birth of 
the first child ; but all the terrors of religion, stripes 
included, are directed against the wife who dares to 
visit her home without her husband's order— what, 
then, can the poor woman do but duly and openly 
disobey them ? She did so once a day, sometimes 
twice, and her husband, as might be expected, felt 
the results. Availing herself of the privilege of ripe 
womanhood, she added smoking and the chewing of 
betel-nut to her other accomplishments. She spent 

VOL. I. 



338 Sind Revisited. 



hours in decorating herself, not to fascinate, as she 
ought to have done, the eye of her spouse, but with 
the strictly feminine object of exciting, by a display 
of dresses, the envy, spite, and rage of her family, 
friends, and " society" in general. She punctually 
attended all f eastings and junketings, nor did 
she neglect the fairs at the tombs of Saints, and 
other religious assemblies, where religion is usually 
the thing least thought of. She had promised, by 
proxy, not directly as our better-halves do, to " love, 
honour, and obey " her goodman : she did neither 
this, that, nor the other. Old Sa'adi, the Oriental 
moralist (about as moral a writer, by- the -by, as 
Pietro Aretino, or Pigault Lebrun), makes it the 
sign of respectability in a house, that woman's voice 
should never be heard beyond its walls. The fair 
Sindi knows nought of Sa'adi, and cares about as 
much for the old fogy's tests and opinions : she 
scolded her husband with womanly vigour, loudly 
and unrespectably, at all hours. 

After the birth of the first child the petites 
miseres de la vie conjugate began to gather. The 
wife had been indulging a little too freely in the plea- 
sures of — brandy. Her spouse discovered the cir- 
cumstance, and chastised her corporally for the 
same. He should have begun that discipline earlier. 
Instead of bowing her head, she swore, with a howl, 
that his face was a " black Creation of Allah's." 
He, highly indignant at the truth of the observa- 
tion, retorted by many a curse in query-form, to 



UflB 



Her Married Life. 339 

which she replied categorically. A furious quarrel 
was the result. Fortunately for our visitor, Sind 
belongs to a civilized people, who systematically 
hang every man that kills his " rib." The Koranic 
law concerning adultery is utterly inadequate for 
the moral wants of any community ; hence the use 
of the sack or the scimitar in El-Islam. Where we 
rule, we should remember that, when taking away 
a man's only means to secure his honour, it is our 
duty to provide him with some other preservative ; 
and this, generally speaking, we have not done. 
The frantic outburst of debauchery which followed 
our occupation of Afghanistan and Sind was a 
caution not to upset, at a moment's notice, the 
" Easm," or country- customs, which are esteemed by 
Moslems second only to "Farz," or express Koranic 

injunction. 

When the couple retired to rest that night, the 
husband, reflecting for the first time upon the many 
blessings of polygamy, half-determined to take to 
himself a second wife, and the wife, indignantly 
running over the list of her grievances, firmly 
resolved to provide herself with a cicisbeo. She 
would have demanded divorce from " that man " 
but for two reasons ; in the first place, by such 
step, she would have forfeited all her claims to the 
"Mahr," or settlement; and secondly, she did not 
anticipate much happiness in returning home to 
be scolded by her mother, lectured by her father, 
snubbed by her brothers, and be sedulously watched 



340 Sind Revisited. 

and guarded by all. But she did not fail, knowing 
how much it would annoy her husband, to call upon 
" dear ma " as often as possible ; to detail all her 
miseries ; and to throw " dear ma's " words in his 
face at every opportunity. Finally, she threatened 
him with her pa ; and she complained to her big 
brothers with such assiduity, that the spouse, quite 
excede, presently provided her with a lawful rival, 
she him with an unlawful one. 

In Moslem countries polygamy is the exception, 
not the rule. It is confined to the upper and the 
wealthy middle classes, who can afford themselves 
the luxury ; and a first wife, who is always the 
wife, is seldom superseded unless issue be wanting, 
or incompatibility of temper render the measure 
advisable. The equitable law of the Koran con- 
cerning the marriage-settlement effectually prevents 
the abuse of divorce on an extensive scale : the rich 
few may, the many poor cannot, afford to pay every 
woman whom they wish to put out of doors. Wives 
are limited to four, the number fixed by the Koran 
and approved of by experience. One quarrels with 
you ; two are sure to involve you in their squabbles, 
which end only to recommence, because they are 
equally matched ; and, when you have three, a 
faction is always formed against her you love best, 
so as to make her hours bitter. But four find 
society and occupation for themselves ; of course 
they divide into two parties, but you, oh husband, 
are comparatively comfortable. 



Her Maternity. 341 



You must not run away with the opinion, Mr. 
John Bull, that all four occupy the same apart- 
ments. Were that the case, there would soon be 
murder in the house. Each has her own suite of 
rooms, her attendants, and her private establish- 
ment. In their intercourse there is much ceremony ; 
no one calls upon her "sister," or rival- wife, without 
sending a previous message, and the relatives, friends, 
and acquaintances of the one are not expected to 
show any attention to the other. A certain amount 
of discipline is maintained by the wife, No. 1, who 
commands the brigade, and the law of the Koran 
condemns the Moslem that allows himself to show, 
although he may feel, undue partiality for any one 
of the four. Fortunately for Sind, the fair sex is 
not so skilful in toxicology, as are the dark dames 
of India, nor have they the stout hearts and sturdy 
arms which often render the burly beauties of 
Afghanistan truly formidable to their husbands. 

After what I have told you about our visitor, 
you will readily believe that she is not so good a 
mother as the Hindu woman. She considers every 
child a disadvantage, as it robs her charms of 
their freshness ; she quotes the Sindi equivalent 
of le premier embellit, le second detruit, et le 
troisieme gate tout ; she becomes impatient under 
repetition as the belle of New York or Boston. 
She has to make the most of her time, expecting 
to be an old woman at thirty, and maternal duties 
are apt sadly to interfere with the pursuit of excite- 



342 Sind Revisited. 



ment, and the enjoyment of pleasure. But she also 
feels that her position in society (and what will 
not a woman do for position ?) mainly depends, for 
existence and continuance, upon her offspring. If 
she has not a son, she will be cast aside as soon 
as wrinkles appear, like an antiquated piece of 
furniture doomed to the lumber-room till it falls 
to dust. Her rivals, against whom she has fought 
through life — all for hate, of course, not for love 
— with the spirit of a heroine, and the zeal of a 
Jesuit, will gloriously win the day : her husband 
will despise her till he forgets her ; her family will 
neglect her as an unprofitable person ; briefly, there 
is no knowing how dark her future fate may be. So 
she does not utterly neglect her children ; in their 
infancy she sees that they are fed and bathed, and, 
as they grow older, she takes more care of them : 
they now become the weapons with which she 
hopes, by Allah's aid, to drive the " sister- wife " out 
of the well-fought field. 

Soon our Sindi dame, after prolonging the evil 
day as much as possible, will turn her back upon 
pleasure ; and apply herself either to unremitting 
intrigue for the benefit of her offspring, or become 
very devout and disagreeable, inveighing bitterly 
against the vanities of the world, for the usual' 
reason, because she can no longer enjoy them ; and 
censuring the " young people of the present day," 
because she belongs to a past generation. Her sons 
and daughters will grow up ; in her turn she will 



Her Maternity. 343 



become a mother-in-law and a grandmother. Then 
her husband will pass away ; she removes her orna- 
ments, refrains from perfumes and scented oils, 
dresses herself in unwashed white garments and, 
exactly as if she had been a British matron, 
traditionizes about, and anticipates reunion in 
" another and a better world " with, her " poor dear 
J&n Mohammed." And so on: the lights wane; 
the stage darkens ; the curtain falls. 



END OF VOL. T. 



PRINTED AT THE CAXTON PRESS, BECCLES. L. & Co. 



11 






Wl<fJ 



SA 



s 



V 



/-* 



^ /. 






f 



S 5- 



k*. - 




y 



i i 








^^^a^^^^^^H 




/ 




V% H^^^ 




■?£?' A ^ 


S ' Vv 


XS"! 




• 4T 




La . m 




JBs^ 






"^1 


















I 










\J:M 







• 



/ 



A 



k. *2 



^